BC Loves Our Vets!

Good morning Bakersfield. 
It is Saturday, November 10, 2018…..A great day to be a Renegade

Official group picture

It has been 6 weeks since I went to my Saturday exercise class.  So I really enjoyed being back at Body Pump and fell in love with this song that the instructor used for the lunge session.

Now back to BC….. Paul Beckworth texted me this morning that it was a “fantastic week” at BC.  All week long we have been celebrating our student veterans at BC with many events.

Bakersfield College Vernon Valenzuela Veteran Resource Center

Monday morning began with the 2018 Veterans Community Leader Breakfast, celebrating those who diligently support our returning veterans and men and women in service. Local leaders ate a delicious breakfast at the Renegade Room prepared by our amazing culinary team.  With an over 60% increase in student veterans at BC on campus, it is the leadership and engagement from these dedicated individuals who help us intentionally and meaningfully support our students and veterans to reach their goals. Thank you to everyone who came out including Mayor Goh, Chancellor Tom Burke, Assemblyman Vince Fong, Dick Taylor, Cole Karr (Representative for Kevin McCarthy), Perry Finzel (Representative for David Valadao), Josh Dhanens, and Scott Spielman.  

Karen Goh, Lauren Skidmore, Perry Finzel, Cole Carr, Lilly Agbalog.jpg

A special thanks to Christian Flores-Castaneda, Alex Gomez, Suzanne Tangeman for all of your hard work on the breakfast!

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After the breakfast, attendees joined others from the community to break ground on the Bakersfield College Veterans Resource Center, the first capital project to be funded by Measure J.  Speakers celebrated Vernon Valenzuela and his importance to our community, and spoke about how it is fitting that the first building to be constructed using the Measure J funds is that in dedication to our veterans.  Thank you to our MANY attendees, including Trustee Kay Meek, Trustee Bill Thomas, Trustee Romeo Agbalog for coming to celebrate this momentous occasion! You can view the entire photo album on Facebook. 

I grabbed some of these photos from Mayor Goh’s Facebook posts.

Karen Goh, Sonya Christian.  Picture 2: Norma Rojas Mora, Romeo Agbalog

Karen Goh, Dyann Serrato, Sonya Christian.  Picture 2: Tom Burke, Jeff Flores

Group at the Ground Breaking ceremony.  Picture 2: The fabulous Jennifer Serrat with me


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2018 Vetfest

Patriotism was on full display this past Wednesday, November 7, as Bakersfield College celebrated Vetfest.  The festival, which honored and showed appreciation to all active and former members of the military, was well-attended by students, community members, and veterans.

The morning began with the BC Drumline giving a wonderful performance to kick off the festivities.  They were followed by the presentation of colors and National Anthem. The MC for the event, Veterans Club President Miguel Valle, did an excellent job welcoming the attendees and introducing the speakers.  We had the distinct honor of hearing from the keynote speaker, Lt. Col. (retired) Dr. Tommy Tunson, Director of Public Safety Training Programs, who delivered a truly inspiring speech.

Providing entertainment for the festival were the Brothers of Latin Rock.  Music echoed throughout the campus as this talented band played many classic rock songs, adding their own Latin feel, including “Black Magic Woman” by Santana, which was requested by a veteran in attendance.  BC student Brooke Perez also got on stage and showcased her amazing voice by singing a handful of songs. Way to go, Brooke!

It is events like this that remind us how important it is to never forget the sacrifices our veterans have made.  I am humbled at how this campus has come together to take care of those who have given so much in the name of freedom.
Very special thanks goes out to the following individuals for contributing to the success of Vetfest:

  • Armando Trujillo – Veteran Educational Advisor
  • Bernadette Martinez – Office Supervisor, Counseling Dept.
  • Adeana Williams – Department Assistant, Veterans Resource Center
  • Miguel Valle – Student Veteran Club President
  • Lee Caldwell – BC Student Veteran
  • Lt. Col (ret.) Dr. Tommy Tunson — Director of Public Safety Training Programs
  • BC Veteran Club advisors and members
  • Office of Student Success & Equity
  • BC Food Services
  • BC Facilities, Maintenance & Operations

Last but most definitely not least, a HUGE thank you to Lisa Kent and Paul Beckworth for organizing this week!  Thank you to everyone for helping honor our veterans as we celebrate Vet Week. We are BC!


President Sonya Christian, VPs Zav Dadabhoy and Mike Giacomini, with keynote speaker Lt. Col. Dr. Tommy Tunson.


American pride at BC


BC Drum Line


President Sonya Christian speaker to the crowd.


Keynote speaker Lt. Col. Dr. Tommy Tunson on stage.

You can view photos of the entire week’s worth of events on Facebook.

Vet Club

BC’s Vet Club

Football game honoring our Veterans

Last weekend’s football game was a treat. There was a beautiful color in the sky which looked fierce like fire as I made my way towards Memorial Stadium.

Sky at the BC football game

It started with the National Anthem sung by a student veteran who is also a Music Major. His name is Josh Forquera. He works so hard and it shows. Let’s listen to his talent….

Josh singing the National Anthem.

Josh Forquera singing the National Anthem.


Skydiver from Skydive San Joaquin bringing in the American and State flags.


Skydiver from Skydive San Joaquin bringing in the game ball.

Thank you to SGA for being so supportive of our football game honoring our Veterans, and for providing the amazing skydivers to kick off the night.

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Jeremy Staat tossing the coin at the football game.

BC’s very own Jeremy Staat performed the coin toss at the game, alongside Chevron’s Gavin Kimmel.  Jeremy played football as a Renegade, then went on to play at ASU as a teammate of Pat Tillman.  Jeremy’s football career then took him to the NFL, after which he served in the Marines. He’s now a welding instructor at BC.

We also had a swearing in ceremony for army recruits at halftime.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these recruits!

Moorepark at BC Football29

Swearing in ceremony for army recruits at halftime.

That night, the names of all BC staff/faculty veterans were read aloud.  I would like to honor them now by listing them by name once again:

United States Marines
• Jeremy Staat, 2005-2009, Corporal (E-4). — Welding
• Armando Trujillo, Marine Corps –Veterans Educational Advisor
• Felix Ramirez from 1980-1985. 1985-2002 Army National Guard (E-7) —Public Safety Officer (ret). (Retired from BC)
• Juan Torres, United State Marine Corps from 1988-1994—Site Operations (Delano)
• Jason Mattheus, 1997-2003, Public Safety
• Luke Thomas, Public Safety

United States Navy
• Lieutenant Manuel Fernandez, 11 years—Electronics
• Jahnea Palfrey, 1999-2003, Law Enforcement—Department Assistant
• Di Hoffman, 1992-2001 – Nursing
• Eddie Rangel, 1998-2001 –Information Technology
• Diana Alcala, 2002-2008—Human Resources Assistant
• Paul Beckworth, 1989-1993, National Guard 1997-2003— Faculty Director of Veteran Services
• Richard McCrow, 30 years –Dean of Instruction
• Tony Cordova- Program Manager CTE
• David Whalen, 5 year, Physics and Astronomy Professor

United States Army
• Pat Smith, 5 yrs —Criminal Justice Professor
• Joe Escalante, served 4 years, Sociology Professor
• Patrick Fulks, 1969-1971,(E-5) Biology Professor
• F. Javier Llamas, 1995-2003, History Professor
• Chef Patrick Coyle, 1972-1977, Culinary Professor
• Charlie Fivecoat, 1971-1974, Criminal Justice Professor
• Tommy Tunson, 1974-2007, Director of Public Safety Training Program
• Richard Castallon, 2013-present, Public Safety

United States Air Force
• Bernadette Martinez, 1993-1997 (E-4)—Office Supervisor
• Malissa Buggs, 21 years, Nursing Professor
• Christine Dunn 1995-1998 (Captain) Nursing
• Myron Patton, 1973-1977, Air Force, Adjunct Agriculture

Coast Guard
• Thomas T. Rush, 4 years, BS Program Associate Professor-Electronics
• Glen Gustafson, 6 years, Art Professor

Thank you for all that you do, for serving our country and protecting our freedom.  I am so proud that you all are a part of the Bakersfield College team!

During the game, it was great to see Kimberly Bligh, Zav Dadabhoy, and Carlos Barabaran in the stands among all our regular dedicated Renegade fans.

Sonya Christian and Kimberly BlighSonya Christian, Zav Dadabhoy, & Carlos Barbaran

Chris Hine shared a photo with me after the game of Valerie hanging out with Pepper, the softbank robot programmed by BC’s Industrial Automation seniors to be a Renegade football fan!

Valerie & Pepper the Robot

Chris Hines’ grandaughter Valerie

Chevron supports current and future Renegades

Partnerships with local industry are so important to our students and Chevron is a true partner in the transformative power of higher education.  In 2013 when I started as President of Bakersfield College, we received a $125,000 gift from Chevron for various programs and initiatives. With that gift, the college was able to modernize engineering labs equipment from the petroleum and engineering fields.

An ongoing project between Bakersfield College and Chevron, called Project Lead the Way, grows each and every summer offering more enriching STEM camp opportunities for local high school and middle school students. These day-long summer camps truly inspire students to consider career fields in engineering, robotics, architecture, and more. Check out the article from KGET which highlights these camps from last summer with a video.

BC’s Yadira Guerrero, the Program Manager of Engineering at Bakersfield College has spoke about her passion for bringing hands-on STEM education to young people during these camps made possible by Chevron. “We’re hoping to inspire students and ignite a love for hands-on learning that maybe they don’t get the chance to do a lot of in school,” she said. “We’re hoping the academy will inspire them to want to go to college.”

In 2016, the Bakersfield College Foundation honored Chevron as Outstanding Corporate Donor for all they invest in our community. Everything Chevron does is focused on preparing students to succeed in school and in life. As a testament to their generosity, they are a core reason for the increase in our engineering majors from 163 in 2008 to 2512 STEM majors in Fall 2018.

In addition to the STEM camps before students get to BC, the support of BC’s MESA program is life changing. I previously blogged about MESA Week Zero here and news about recent MESA students is regular feature in my blog! It’s amazing to see these young men and women grow and succeed in their studies and budding passion for engineering and STEM careers.  

Chevron leader and advocate Adam Alvidrez was also on campus for the signing of the Kern Promise in April 2017. The Kern promise supports a vision of focused partnerships between education and industry partners to increase efficiency and ensure that our graduates can find meaningful employment upon completion. You can read more about the signing event in my blog, “Strengthening Kern County One Degree at a Time.”

Chevron’s support goes beyond academics and the classroom, extending to athletics and support for our veterans. Last weekend, Chevron’s Gavin Kimmel was on the field alongside BC faculty and Veteran Jeremy Staat for the coin toss. Chevron invited employees to support veterans and attend the Renegade football at the game against Moorepark for a family night out supporting the ‘Gades.

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Chevron’s Gavin Kimmel alongside BC’s Jeremy Staat tossing the game coin.

Thank you Chevron, for investing in education, supporting our students, and inspiring the future workforce to learn skills that provide living wages and meaningful employment.

Wounded Heroes Fund: Salute to Our Local Heroes

For the 10th year, the local Wounded Heroes Fund sponsored a very successful BBQ steak lunch at the Kern County Fairgrounds–free for all veterans!  Just inside the grounds was a range exhibitors that provide services for veterans, employers of veterans, and veteran supporters, such as Kevin McCarthy. Of course, Armando Trujillo, BC Veteran’s Adviser, was stationed at the BC booth, and addressed the gathering regarding his military service and transition home.

Inside the pavilion, large rows of camo-covered tables and US flags filled the room providing plenty of space for veterans, families, and friends. Attendees listened to speeches from our local veteran leaders, and rocked to music from outstanding veteran-lead bands. A fantastic steak lunch added to the festivities!  BC Director of Veterans programs, Paul Beckworth and his wife Sandra were there with family, and joined by Terri Goldstein, Director of BC Disabled Students Programs & Services.

The official website states that The Wounded Heroes Fund is a local service organization for veterans and families affected by the war on terror in an effort to provide the support and appreciation they need for a healthy return to civilian life. Thank you to Mayor Karen Goh who always notices BC in the community and is never shy to forward me the photos, BC’s Veteran Services, Terri Goldstein, Director of BC’s DSPS, and BC’s Nursing students who always jump in with involvement in the community. See the post by Mayor Karen Goh on her Facebook! BC Nursing rocks!

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Thirty Unit Coining Ceremony

On Wednesday evening Bakersfield College Veteran Services held its first ever 30-unit Coining Ceremony, which signifies an important momentum point for our student-veterans. This milestone captures the halfway mark to the participants’ road to degree completion. Challenge coins are traditionally handed out upon completion of an important task or mission and to raise morale.  Wednesday’s ceremony may very be the first of its kind in the California Community College system. Twenty-seven veterans were coined in front of a roomful of family and friends.  I’m so proud of our student veterans!

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BC Honored with Joint Assembly & Senate Resolution

Earlier this week, Senator Fuller presented BC with the joint Assembly and Senate Resolution in honor of Bakersfield College receiving the Gold Strong Workforce Star for our Radiologic Technology program and our Registered Nursing program. Over the summer, BC was recognized by the 2018 Strong Workforce Stars for SIXTEEN of our programs!  The Strong Workforce Stars highlights career education programs whose students show significant gains in factors important in building a skilled workforce and for advancing personal social mobility: a substantial increase in earnings, attainment of a living wage and placement in a job closely matched with the field of study.  Here you’ll be able to see the entire list of programs honored.  You can view the ceremony on our Facebook page.

It was such a beautiful moment, and I’m glad I got to share it with those who work so hard to make our CTE programs successful.  Thank you to Tony Cordova, Cindy Collier, Carla Gard, and Jennifer Johnson for all of your hard work and your commitment to our students!  

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Thank you to Senator Fuller, Assemblyman Vince Fong, Senator Andy Vidak and Assemblyman Rudy Salas for your support and this honor.

Telemundo highlights BC’s Free on the Outside program

Thank you to Telemundo for highlighting our Free on the Outside program.  President Alex Arreola shared how this program has helped him envision a different future for himself and his family.  Adolfo Vega shared how the program has provided academic and social support to help him feel part of the Bakersfield College campus.  Norma Gaspar congratulated the students for their dedication and commitment to each other and to changing their lives all while encouraging viewers to see the opportunities Bakersfield College has to offer.  Providing an avenue for all students to succeed and giving them support is what matters. Todos Somos BC!

telemundo alex arreola adolfo vega emmanuel Limaco

BC’s Alex Arreola, Adolfo Vega and Emmanuel Limaco with Telemundo’s Norma Gaspar.

You can watch the segment here on Telemundo.

Roadmap to Public Health Degrees & Careers

Sarah Baron of BC’s Public Health Science program hosted an informational fair on Monday along with presentations on degrees and careers in public health. Throughout the morning, she shared tips for transferring to CSU and UC into a public health or health science major and various opportunities to learn more about public health careers from professionals in the field. There was information on how to apply for the UCLA Public Health Scholar program, an overview on how to obtain an Associate Degree for Transfer in Public Health Science and information on the new Health Navigator Certificate.

BC is fortunate to have such incredible faculty who inspire students to learn more and be inspired by their programs and areas of focus. Thank you Sarah Baron!

Panel Discussion – World War I: A Retrospective

On Tuesday, Bakersfield College professors gave a series of lectures about World War I in the Levan Center to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day this Sunday, which marks the end of The Great War.  History professor Tina Mendoza moderated the event, which offered substantive analysis of three different aspects of World War I and how it continues to influence society today.


Tina Mendoza moderating the WWI panel.

Paul Beckworth’s presentation focused on the last day of the war on November 11, 1918. Even though a peace agreement had been reached by 5 a.m. that morning, seven US generals forced their troops to continue fighting until the official end of the war at 11 a.m. More than 11,000 casualties were needlessly suffered on that last morning due to the hubris of generals such as John J. Pershing, which Beckworth considers a criminal act and a violation of the social contract that a military officer agrees to when he or she becomes an authority figure in control of the fate of their troops.  “An officer is a powerful thing, and it carries with it a heavy responsibility,” Beckworth said. “You don’t grade on curves with other people’s lives.”


Paul Beckworth speaking on the WWI panel.

Olivia Garcia focused on young men in the British middle and upper class who volunteered to die by the thousands in the first major world conflict of the Industrial Age. Military propaganda convinced young men to fight in the conflict; and the horrifying realities of trench warfare and death at a scale that humanity had never seen before was challenging for Victorian and Edwardian notions of aristocratic masculinity that still permeated British society.


Olivia Garcia presenting at the WWI panel.

Javier Llamas discussed how the United States’ late entry into World War I reorganized the structure of the Army and provided opportunities for immigrants and African-Americans to defend their country through volunteering and being drafted into the conflict. African-Americans, as well as Asian immigrants and Mexicans, participated in the conflict via segregated units that primarily provided infrastructure for the war effort. Some troops of color, such as the Harlem Hellfighters, got to fight alongside French and Senegalese troops and were treated as equals.


Javier Llamas presenting at the WWI memorial.

I’d like to thank everyone who participated in this panel Levan Center discussion about World War I. It provided some fascinating perspectives on a conflict that shaped the the 20th Century.


Thank you Olivia, Paul, Javiera & Tina!

Distinguished Speaker Oz Sanchez

On Thursday BC hosted its fifth Distinguished Speaker, Oz Sanchez, author of Know No Limits: The Gold Medalist in Us All. Mr. Sanchez is a Marine and 3x Paralympic medalist who spoke about achieving successful change inevitably means overcoming obstacles and, in some cases, recreating oneself through an identity shift. He asked the question: how can you become better if you don’t change your mindset? An open mind creates a growth mindset, and helps create your identity. Mr. Sanchez explained that excuses are justifications for our inactions.

Thank you to Dr. Terri Goldstein, Director of Disabled Students Programs and Services, Paul Beckworth, Director of Veterans Services, and Sandi Taylor, Director of Athletics for organizing and advising on this event, and to the Veterans Committee, Renegade Athletics, and Kern Disability Collaborative for collaborating on it as well.

Operation: Not Forgotten Drop Zone

BC held its annual “Operation: Not Forgotten Drop Zone” from 7am-6pm this past Thursday.  The community came out and showed its support by dropping off items to send to deployed military personnel overseas, as well as giving cards and letters of support.  BC holds this activity annually alongside the group Blue Star Moms. Thanks to everyone who donated and showed their support for our troops!

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Services for David Besst

Last Saturday, I attended a celebration of life for Professor David Besst.  There were several faculty and staff and retired faculty and staff at the event.

David passed away unexpectedly in October at the age of 55, with 25 of those years being spent as an English faculty at BC.  I grabbed these photos from Andrea Thorson’s Facebook post. 


Entree to Employment

Speaking of the Renegade Room and Culinary Arts department, the Career Technical Education Department partnered with the Kern High School District ROC to host the 3rd Bi-Annual, Entrée to Employment event on October 23, 2018. The goal of this event is to introduce our students to the art of networking and gaining valuable knowledge of industry expectations from the employers firsthand. The following Automotive, Fire Technology, Nursing, and Veterinary Technician programs were highlighted. Students were individually selected to participate by their Professors and were required to attend an etiquette class that covered proper dining, attire, and business networking practices. Entrée to Employment took place in our very own Renegade Room, where Chef Suzanne Tangeman, Lab Technician Christian Flores, and their entire staff of students prepared and served an impeccable meal.

While there are no expectations of job offers, the survey results from the event were very positive:

  • 95% of the employers surveyed commented on how professional our students were dressed and how effectively they communicated.
  • 1 student was offered an interview the following day
  • 2 students were told about internship opportunities
  • 1 student was invited to a facility tour
  • 1 student invited on a hike with the Battalion Chief
  • 1 student was offered a job

Kudos to Beth Harrison, Job Development Specialist, who coordinated the event. Without the assistance of BC culinary students, instructors, staff, community employers and the Kern High School District the event would not have been possible.

entree to employment

Attendees at the Entree to Employment event.

entree to employment1

Delicious meal prepared by our talented Renegade Room Culinary team.

Student Life & SGA hosts Murder Mystery Dinner

The Renegade Room was packed for the Murder Mystery Dinner hosted by Student Life and BCSGA. The crowd was captivated by the hilarious performers and interactive experience. And the food…well the food was simply to die for! Special thanks to Christian Flores-Castaneda, Alex Gomez, Suzanne Tangeman and the Renegade Room Staff for a night well spent! It was fantastic!

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Running in Silence

Dr. Terri Goldstein, BC’s Director of DSPS, shared an article featuring BC student athlete, Adolfo Escudero-Mendoza. The moving story featured the passion, love of sport, determination, and power of teammates. 23ABC’s Sports Director Kari Osep shot and produced this piece on our very own Men’s XC student athlete Adolfo, who has run Men’s XC since his time at Highland HS, and who does not let being deaf slow him down. His teammates even embrace the challenge of learning ASL to communicate with him and cheer him on. Special thank you to Kari Osep for sharing Adolfo’s story and bringing awareness to the incredible things taking place at the Home of the Renegades. Check out the story “Running in Silence” on 23ABC.

Screenshot of 23ABC story on Adolfo Escudero-Mendoza

Terri shared with me that Adolfo is also a gifted artist with several of his works hanging in the DSPS office. Here are a few that she shared:

Adolfo Escudero-Mendoza art pieces

Emails Worth Sharing: Spotlight on Inmate Scholars

Communication faculty, John Giertz has been teaching at BC for 30 years and shared with me that he recently has taught classes at Kern Valley State Prison. His email said, 

One of my Argumentation students paroled out of the prison at about the same time I was beginning an 8 week argumentation class.  Today, Chelsea was waiting for me. We met the student in the hall and it was the first time I really shook his hand and the only time I have been able to give him a hug. This is what this program is about, and I was fortunate to see a former inmate coming back into society. This is what education is all about. To witness a student navigate from one world to another and to be, just a small part of it. This is what all teachers live for. To see your student become involved in your class and to realize that the two of you are walking unchartered territory—together.

Professor Giertz is one of many committed faculty and staff who prioritize supporting students through education. The Inmate Scholars program, led by Chelsea Esquibias is offering hope through education and transforming lives.

Photo of John Giertz

BC is doing amazing things because of the leadership and engagement of faculty, staff, and of course… our students.

This is why I’m the luckiest and happiest college president EVER!

Fun Photos from Halloween Fun at BC

Faculty and staff from the Math and Science departments have continued to share photos with me from the Halloween fun that took place on campus.

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Talented Renegades at BC

Throughout October, the talented Renegades in our choirs and chamber singers had some amazing events worth sharing! In case you missed it, on Oct. 25th Hila Plitmann, a Grammy-award winning soprano held a Master Class in the Indoor Theater. She worked with 5 of our Applied Voice Majors, performed 4 solo selections, and held a Q&A with the audience. It was great to see the piece by Susan Scaffidi Love, tradition, modern hits – BC concert will have it all” in the Bakersfield Californian as well!

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The following evening was the Fall Concert entitled Veni, Vidi, Amavi: We Came, We Saw, We Loved which featured Hila Plitmann, the Synergy Chamber Players and the finale included the Fairfax School District Choirs. We had a nearly full house too!

Photo from the Veni, Vidi, Amaiv event.

On October 29th, BC hosted the Chamber Festival with Dr. Cari Earnhart, Director of Choral Activities at Fresno State as our guest clinician for local high school chamber choirs. I’m filled with joy every time we are able to host local high schoolers on campus to showcase their talent. Director, Jennifer Garrett tells me that we had 13 high schools perform. She said, “The transitions were something to behold.”

Chamber Singers 5th Annual Holiday Dinner

Can you believe it’s already that time of the year? The BC Chamber Singers will once again host their annual holiday dinner, this year called “Christmas Through the Ages.” This year’s event will take place on December 1, 2018 at 5:00pm and tickets are already going quickly. The holiday dinner will be family focused with crafts for kids, cookie decorating, a photo booth, and Santa Claus may even make an appearance. The amazing Jen Garrett tells me there will be a live auction, great entertainment, and lots of fun to be had. It’s the perfect way to kick off the month of December and I hope to see you there.

For tickets, please contact Jennifer Garrett at 661-395-4547 or by email at jennifer.garrett@bakersfieldcollege.edu

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11am, you can check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include segments with Head Softball Coach Casey Goodman and her Assistant Coach Megan Rowe and four of their softball student-athletes: Kylee Fahy, Alex Venegas, Alexis Lopez and Ashley Hernandez. Also, joining the show was Mike George of Kern Schools FCU – we always appreciate their support of Renegade athletics.

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (10/28 -11/3) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:

Renegades of the week Sarah Armendariz and Adrian Lopez

Sarah Armendariz, Volleyball – Also named the CCCWVCA State Player of the Week, Armendariz had 27 assists in 3-0 sweep over West LA in helping team to 21-1 record and #3 ranking in the state. She is currently ranked fifth in the state in assists average at 10.28 per set.

Adrian Lopez, Men’s Cross Country qualified for the CCCAA State Cross Country Championships in setting a new PR in the 4-mile race at 21:16. Lopez is the lone Renegade to qualify for the state finals.

Congrats to Sarah Armendariz for being named CCCWVCA State Player of the Week

For week #10 of the season sophomore Sarah Armendariz was given the Player of the Week honors by the California Community College Women’s Volleyball Association (CCCWVCA). As setter for the team, she has helped the team to an impressive 15-match win streak. She dished out 52 assists and made 10 kills in the team’s last two victories, both sweeps. Currently, she is fifth in the state in assists average at 10.28 per set. Way to go Sarah!

Sarah Armendariz

Congrats to Cam Roberson for being named SCFA Special Teams Player of the Week

The Southern California Football Association (SCFA) named Renegade punt returner Cameron Roberson as the National Division Special Teams/All-Purpose Player of the Week for his exceptional performance in returning two punts for touchdowns in their game against Moorpark this last Saturday. The first touchdown was a 77-yard return and the second was an 81-yard return. On the game, he had 6 punt returns for a total of 202 return yards, averaging 33.7 yds/return. Congrats, Cam!

Cam Roberson has been named SCFA Special Teams Player of the Week

Roundup of Athletics Events this week

It was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on GoGades.com):

Staying Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media. On Facebook find us under ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’, on Twitter – @GoGadesGo and on Instagram – @gogadesgo.

Sonya Christian Nov 5 2018


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC in community, having fun, and caring for each other

Good morning Bakersfield. 
It is Saturday, November 3, 2018…..a great day to be a Renegade.

Sunrise Nov 4 2018.jpg

Gorgeous eastern sky.  Photo snapped during the early morning dog walk.

Very active week at BC…but then that’s how we roll at BC.

On Friday, College Council met at our Delano Campus.  It was a treat to be in Delano for our meeting.

College Council in Delano Nov 2 2018

Abel Guzman, Raquel Lopez and Jaime Lopez did a great presentation on the expansion of Rural Initiatives.

College Council in Delano 2

Homecoming Game

It was an exciting Saturday evening, October 27th, at Memorial Stadium with the Homecoming Game. The Renegade Football Team hosted East LA College in a wild 2018 homecoming game that ended with a big 58-17 Renegade win.

view of game from the stands

At halftime of the game the 1988 JC National Championship Renegade football team was honored on the field and presented with a special hat remembering their exceptional achievement.


About 40-50 players and coaches, including Murray Adams, Chris Figueroa, William Young, Bobby Blackman, and Raymond Braxton, came from all across the country to reunite and remember their perfect 11-0 season from that year.


At the conclusion of the game all in attendance were treated to an incredible fireworks show with a finale that left multiple car alarms blaring throughout the tailgating parking lot!


I love when families come to Renegade athletic events. And I was happy to see retired Dean Frank Gornick out at the game – once a Renegade always a Renegade! More about Frank-Gornick, Board of Directors for Foundation for California Community Colleges

Look at who else was at the homecoming game:


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As always, the fireworks display was spectacular.


Did you see the feature on KGET highlighting the incredible work of BC’s Industrial Automation seniors? See how students Chad and Aaron prepared their robots for Renegade football on KGET.

Homecoming Week

Homecoming Week closed out with a bang last week as Student Life and BC Student Government Association (BCSGA) welcomed the community to the BC Campus for the Friday Night Halloween Bash on October 26th. Over 800 guests attended our trunk-or-treat, Student Organization led game tables, face painting, inflatables, dancing, and a viewing of Hotel Transylvania 3. It was a great night!


Saturday’s Homecoming Parade visited the packed Tailgating Area with the Drumline leading the way. Fans were so excited to see and take photos with the mascot, Emmanuel Limaco, who was crowned later at the halftime show as Homecoming Royalty. Thank you to Homecoming Royalty Candidates (pictured from left to right) Paul Coffman, Francis Benavente, Aliyah Khan, Andrea Lopez, and winner, Emmanuel Limaco – Congratulations, Emmanuel!



BC in the Vineyards Project — Very proud of this work by the Rural Initiatives Team

As I wrote in last week’s blog, BC was out in the vineyards of Kern County this week. In partnership with the Central Valley Farm workers Foundation, Bakersfield College Rural Initiatives team and outreach advisors visited 20 farmworker crews at local vineyards throughout North and South Kern to promote higher education. The team was able to reach over 1200 farmworkers, planting a seed of hope for higher education. Over 150 workers have requested follow-up services to begin their matriculation.

I would like to thank all those who assisted in this project and Adult Education Managers, Jaime Lopez and Endee Grijalva for coordinating the efforts to make this possible. Although, this outreach effort is the first of its kind, it will not be the last as the Rural Initiatives Team continues to change lives across Kern County!

BC team of 9 in front of the grape vines


Art for Planet, Art for People

Levan Center speaker Esther Iverem spoke to the Umoja Community ASTEP students before her evening presentation on Tuesday, October 30, 2018. Iverem is an independent journalist who has written on social justice, arts, and culture for the New York Times and Washington Post. She also has published books on poetry and film reviews.

Olukun of the Galaxy book cover and Esher Iverem Author-artist activist, quilts, Olokun of the Galxy, Pantsdolls, Fiber Arts, Words

Iverem, also host of the On the Ground radio show, talked to the students in Dr. Paula Parks’ Umoja English class on the importance of creating their own media and locating non-biased sources of information. Most students admitted that they get their news from social media. “Something I took away from her discussion was that everything we enjoy in the media was written by someone and that writing is a career option,” explained Michaela Edwards. Iverem, a native of Philadelphia who lives in Washington, D.C., also spoke on the importance of writing to express oneself. “She reminded me that not only do I have the ability to create as an individual, but the power as an African American to make great narratives. It was very motivating,” stated Dujour Sams.

The author smiling with a pants doll

The evening presentation consisted of Iverem reading and showing art from her latest book Olokum of the Galaxy, which is the story of Olokum, a West African spirit who lives in the oceans. From below, he witnesses the creation of the seas, bodies of slaves who jumped or were thrown off the slave ships, smoke and coal debris from the industrial revolution, today’s oil and chemical spills, and eventually the destruction of the planet due to man’s abuse.

Iverem said that “the way that we are treating the planet is an emergency. We were not great stewards before, but we seem to be going backwards.” She cited recent pipeline construction and increased offshore drilling.

Most of the audience questions centered on her art.

Umoja students and faculty with the author and 5 dolls made from repurposed clothing

The book was an offshoot of the Olokum figures that Iverem was making from reclaimed fabric and discarded buttons, chains, and belts.  She said that it takes her a few days to hand make each doll. Some also have necklaces with small photos of African Americans (such as Tamir Rice) who were gunned down by police.  Iverem’s Olokum projects have combined her passions for social justice, the environment, African-American culture, poetry, writing, and visual and textile art.

We are so fortunate to welcome journalists, artists, authors and speakers to Bakersfield College to enrich the lives of our students and community with culturally diverse experiences. We are able to educate our students and community beyond the regular classroom curriculum. See why I feel like the luckiest and happiest president? I would like to thank Dr. Paula Parks and Reggie Williams for organizing this event.

Animal Advice: Are You Listening?

Speaking of our fortune in being able to bring great scholars to enrich our lives, yesterday, Friday November 2nd, Dr. Rae Ann Kumelos, Bakersfield College English Professor, was honored as this year’s Faculty Colloquium in the Levan Center. About 50 faculty, staff, students and community members were present for her presentation “Animal Advice: Are You Listening?”

Rae Ann in front of the screen that says Dream a little dream

The colloquium examined the relationships between humans and animals through stories from myth, fairy tale, literature, science, pop culture and life. She pointed out that animals are often depicted as a wise helper in fairy tales, shamans use them as totems and spirit guides. We see them in our dreams and the etymology of the word “animal” can mean soul, breath, life and impulse.


In the physical world, animals are a major part of human life. 63% of homes have animals, while only 35% have children. 89% of pet owners call their animals their children and 94% talk to their pets like people. Presence of animals can lower blood pressure, cholesterol and anxiety and dogs are being used to assist people with medical issues like sensing epileptic seizures and low blood sugar, while others can be used for leading the blind. As our culture shifts from the rural life to a more suburban existence, we are bringing the animals into our homes and backyards and seeing their individual personalities. Yet, 50% of animals have gone extinct in the last 40 years. We recognize our individual pets as having a personality, yet hunters view wild animals as trophies. Rae Ann’s point is that animals are showing us our future and speaking to us about the state of our world and what we humans have done to it. We need to listen to the animals and pay attention to politics about our environment and treatment of animals.

Wild Wisdom book cover

Rae Ann writes academically and as a columnist for a variety of national publications about the relationships between humans and animals in myth, literature, astronomy and popular culture. She lectures at various conferences, most recently at Oxford University and has her own radio program broadcast on XM Satellite Radio called Voice of the Animal. Her book Wild Wisdom: Animal Stories of the Southwest received a national award as gift book of the year. We are lucky to have such quality faculty as Rae Ann, congratulations on your award.


The Faculty Colloquium is made possible by the generous donation from Dr. Norman Levan. Rae Ann was presented a plaque and a $1500 stipend which she plans to use for a safari to see the animals of Africa. Thank you to the Faculty Colloquium committee Susan Pinza, Bob Allison, Adel Shafik, Donna Starr, Nick Strobel, Erin Miller and Richard Marquez (Rae Ann outed that Richard doesn’t like cats, he says he does like dogs), Reggie Williams, Director of the Levan Center, and Alex Gomez for the fabulous food. And now, I am off to ask Neo and Bessie for some wisdom.

Oct 21 2018 Bessie and Neo at Riverwalk Park

Community Healthcare Needs Discussion

Senator Andy Vidak opening the Healthcare Initiatives Partnership Meeting

Bakersfield College, CSU Bakersfield, and Senator Andy Vidak partnered together earlier this week to create a forum of discussion between some of the top healthcare professionals in our region and higher education faculty.  Bruce Peters, President  & CEO of Mercy Hospitals, Sharlet Briggs, President & CEO of Adventist Health, and cardiology specialist Dr. Jeet Singh were just a few of the power houses in attendance.  Attendees chatted about how we can all work together to ensure that our area is being provided the programs that it and the industry needs, and to try to help prevent any shortfalls in occupation employment.  The interactions and topics were great, and exactly what we wanted to address!

BC’s Associate Dean of Instruction Carla Gard shared her insight on BC’s nursing program. KCCD Associate Vice Chancellor Cindy Collier shared her insight on assisting in the healthcare workforce development in Kern. CSUB’s Chair of the Nursing Program, Debbie Boschini shared insights on challenges and opportunities for developing and strengthening our nursing pathways.

2 attendees pose in front of the Levan Center

Top Healthcare Leaders in Kern County




6 people posing in front of Levan Center


The conversations and interaction between education and healthcare industry partners led to a commitment to continue working together to develop opportunities for allied health education in our area. THANK YOU to everyone who attended. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this new partnership!

Dream Big Conference

Two-hundred and forty two participants attended the Dream Big Conference at the Bakersfield College main campus on Friday, October 26th.  A grand total of 18 local high schools participated in the youth conference. It was a great day of inspiration for English second language learners, migrant students, undocumented youth, and first generation high school students of Kern County. The conference’s mission was to educate, motivate, and inspire disproportionately impacted youth groups with the intention of promoting education as a viable mechanism for future prosperity and social class mobility.

Students perusing booths on campus

Participants learned about the various resources on campus, such as FAFSA/CA Dream Act, Dual/Concurrent Enrollment, Matriculation Steps, Transfer Services, EOP&S, and attended a resource fair from a variety of departments and community agencies. In addition to the wealth of knowledge students received, this extraordinary youth conference imparted resiliency, hope, sense of community, and stressed the importance of creating generational change within their immediate family by pursuing post-secondary education. Participants gained insight from a college panel which was made up of student leaders from the LUPE Student Organization. Students received BC swag, danced a little, left the campus well informed, and had a great time.

Students listening to staff in the forum

I want to thank the following departments that supported, organized, and made the conference possible: Office of Student Success & Equity, EOP&S/CARE/CalWORKs Programs, Cal-SOAP, Office of Student Life, Office of VP Student Affairs, Office of Outreach & School Relations, Office of Financial Aid, Adult Education & Rural Initiatives, Counseling & Advising Department, LUPE Student Organization, Kern High School District (KHSD), Academic Support Services, Maintenance & Operations, BC Food Services, and the many wonderful student volunteers!

Students getting excited

We are BC!  (Somos BC!)

Students and staff in front of a large butterfly poster

Fall Pathways Fest

This week we had another inspiring event for current students about the Learning & Career Pathways and support services. The sky was blue and the weather was perfect for the BC Counseling Faculty and Educational Advising team to host the inaugural Fall Pathways Fest outside on the Student Crossroads lawn. On Wednesday, October 31st, 2018, campus students were provided with full access to informational tables hosted for each Learning and Career Pathway, such as Agriculture/Nutrition/Culinary Arts, Arts/Humanities/Communication, Business, Education, Health Sciences, Industrial and Transportation Technology, Public Safety Training, Social and Behavioral Sciences, STEM, and Personal and Career Exploration.


In addition, CSU Bakersfield, the FINISH IN 4 Program, BC Transfer Center, LET’S TEACH, Summer Bridge, and EOP&S/CARE/calWORKS hosted tables promoting various support program services critical to student success and completion.


At the event, students met one-on-one with their Pathways Counselors and Advisors, signed up for educational workshops, received information regarding their majors, and obtained additional services such as change of major, educational planning, and major exploration. Food was provided by the Office of Student Success and Equity.


I would like to thank Mark Oseo and the Counseling and Advising Department for organizing and hosting this event and thank all of the departments, staff and faculty that participated. This successful event exemplifies a structured educational experience to support our students. As a partner with California Guided Pathways project, BC is changing the way education is provided to our students. We are integrating our initiatives and providing students with maps to achieving their goals. This event exemplifies our dedication to the Guided Pathways Project and our students.

Employer of the Year for Large Business

BC is honored to be recognized as Employer of the Year for Large Business at the 2018 Mayor’s Helping Incorporate Reliable Employees (HIRE) Luncheon. Manager of Operations, Ramon Puga accepted the award on October 16, 2018 during the HIRE luncheon which celebrates local employees with disabilities, employers, and National Disability Employment Awareness month. Originally founded by former Mayor Harvey Hall, current Mayor Karen Goh is continuing to champion and celebrate diversity within our workforce. The recipient of the Employer of the Year Award is a recognized employer who has shown active recruitment and hiring practices promoting the concept of employment of people with disabilities.


(Left to Right) Carlos Medina, Denise Crawford, Jessica McGrath, (back) Rudy Gutierrez, Mayor Karen Goh, Terri Goldstein, (back) Paul Beckworth, (front) Daniel Gutierrez, and (back) Ramon Puga.

Bakersfield College is proud to offer on-campus student employment opportunities which can sometimes evolve into full time or permanent positions alongside programs like Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS), which ensures equal access to educational opportunities for all students with disabilities. Services are available to support students through certificate or degree completion in order to gain skillful employment within the local workforce.


(Left to Right) Priscilla Varela, Mrs. Kern County Mayor Karen Goh, City of Bakersfield Ramon Puga, Manager of Operations, Bakersfield College

Bakersfield College staff, Daniel Gutierrez, was also nominated for Employee of the Year, while Howard Silver, long-time volunteer on the Bakersfield College Workability Advisory Board, was nominated for the Harvey L. Hall Humanitarian of the Year Award.


Tony Cordova, Director of Career Education, Bakersfield College Sonya Christian, President, Bakersfield College Mayor Karen Goh, City of Bakersfield Denise Crawford, HIRE Committee and Program Manager, WorkAbility, Bakersfield College Liz Rozell, Vice President of Instruction, Bakersfield College

Various BC staff participate in the HIRE Committee including Rudy Gutierrez, Workability Job Development Specialist, Jessica McGrath, Career Education Job Development, Carlos Medina, Career Education Job Development Specialist and Denise Crawford, Program Manager for Workability.  I am truly the luckiest and happiest president to have such caring staff.

Kern High School Transition Fair for Students with Disabilities

Disabled Students Programs & Services at Bakersfield College was well represented at Kern High School Districts’ Annual Transition Fair for Students with Disabilities on November 1, 2018. DSPS’ Job Development Specialist Rudy Gutierrez, Alternative Media Specialist Katrina Marquez, and Director Dr. Terri Goldstein met with students and their parents as they considered options for what to do after high school.

DSPS staff pose at table with brochures

Also at the event were Janis Mendenhall and Amar Abbott from Taft College and representatives from CSU Bakersfield and Fresno State, as well as a number of state and community-based programs.

3 people smile at the camera

Lucky attendees won gift baskets from various groups, including a large basket of BC items that every respectable Renegade needs. The event was so well attended, they will need to find a larger location for 2019!

parents and students getting advice from the DSPS staff

Thank you Terri, Rudy and Katrina for representing the college. It is so important that we prepare all of our students for the transition from high school and to enable them to be successful.

KCCD Leadership Academy

On Friday, November 2, Bakersfield College hosted the KCCD Leadership Academy, which works to prepare classified, faculty, and management employees for leadership roles at every level of the organization through experiential learning opportunities in day-long workshops.  This year’s Leadership Academy cohort was presented with topics that included Guided Pathways, Baccalaureate degrees, Dual Enrollment, Facilities, and Strong Workforce.

18 attendees at tables with laptop computers, note pads, pens, and name tents.

John Means, Vice Chancellor, began the day by welcoming everyone with an overview of the day’s activities.  He was followed by Cornelio Rodriguez, Dean of Instruction at BC, who talked about the BC campus, including its centers, programs, and bright future.  The audience was moved by his story of a young Latina student who, after graduating, received a bouquet of roses from her father.

Corny animated and smiling during his presentation

After the morning session, the group was treated to a cart tour of the BC campus, which highlighted Memorial Stadium, the Veterans Center, and Horticulture Lab. The day was a good opportunity for the district staff in attendance to learn about all the great things going on at BC. Everyone learned information to help enhance their leadership skills.

Thank you to all of the presenters for your time and effort, including:

  • John Means, Vice Chancellor, KCCD
  • Michele Bresso, Dean of Instruction, Bakersfield College
  • Cornelio Rodriguez, Dean of Instruction, Bakersfield College
  • Jennifer Johnson, Dept. Chair, Nursing Program, Bakersfield College
  • Grace Commiso, Dean of Counseling & Student Success
  • Michele Bresso, Dean of Instruction, Bakersfield College
  • Keith Ford, Associate Athletic Director, Bakersfield College
  • Paul Beckworth, Faculty Lead, Veterans Services, Bakersfield College
  • Nicky Damania, Director of Student Life, Bakersfield College
  • Chris McCraw, Agriculture Department Chair
  • Steve Watkin, Director of Outreach & School Relations, Bakersfield College
  • Anna Laven, Program Manager, Dual Enrollment, Bakersfield College
  • Bill Potter, Director of Maintenance & Operations, Bakersfield College
  • Tony Cordova, Program Director, CTE, Bakersfield College
  • Cindy Collier, Associate Vice Chancellor, Economic & Workforce Development, KCCD


Your hard work and dedication to making our district a great place to work is much appreciated!  We are BC!

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11 a.m., check out the segments from this week’s show. This week’s highlights include segments with Head Women’s Basketball Coach Paula Dahl and one of her Assistant Coaches Clarence Stephens and Women’s Basketball student athletes Victoria Trevino, Jasmyn Rodriguez, Kaylana Demmin and Aubrey Stone.

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (10/21-20/27) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week!

Lanie Camarillo and Jesus Barjas Renegades of the week

Lanie Camarillo, Volleyball – Total of 26 kills, 3 errors, 43 attempts, .605 kill% and .500 hitting% in leading team to wins over Cuesta and LA Mission.

Jesus Barajas, Men’s Soccer – 1 goal and 2 assists in helping team to victories over Canyons and Victor Valley.

Congrats to Angelo Benitez and Ben Carlson

5CTCA Academic All-state Angelo Benitez and Ben Carlson #wearebc | #gogades

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce that men’s cross country student athletes Angelo Benitez and Ben Carlson have been named to the 2018 Academic All-State Cross Country team by the CCCCCTCA (California Community College Cross Country & Track Coaches Association). To make the team cross-country student athletes must complete a minimum of 24 academic units with a 3.5 GPA or higher. This is now the third time that Ben has been awarded Academic All-State. He was previously named Academic All-State in both Cross Country and Track & Field last year.

Roundup of Athletics Events this week

It was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include (click for the story on GoGades.com):

Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics

Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media. On Facebook find us under ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’, on Twitter – @GoGadesGo and on Instagram – @gogadesgo.

Halloween Spirits at BC

Wednesday was a boo-tiful day as many of our faculty and staff got into the Halloween spirit. Here are a few fun photos:




I heard a rumor that Matt Garrett made his costume from scratch.

Jennifer Garrett and Matt GArrett Halloween 2018


Steve Watkin as Grut and 8 Outreach Staff members as minions

We are BC!

Sonya Christian cropped image Oct 31 2018


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever


Talent, Dedication and Passion at the Home of the Renegades

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, October 27, 2018….. a great day to be a Renegade.

In Eugene, Oregon this weekend, wearing my Renegade Athletics shirt and enjoying the soft moisture filled air and fall colors.

Missing the two little ones.

Homecoming Week


Cheer Team serving Ice Cream!

Homecoming exceeded all expectations this year, as Renegade pride was in full force throughout the week.  While the highlight of Homecoming will be at the football game tonight, the weeklong celebration has been an exciting time to be on campus.  Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members have come together to honor our history by participating in events like the homecoming parade, student organization competitions, talent show, office decoration party, pep rally, tailgating, and more!

On Thursday, students came out to the Crossroads for “Rally of the Renegades” to get fired up for Saturday’s Homecoming football game .  Carnival games, music, and food got everyone in the mood to celebrate. Our BC cheerleaders served up some delicious ice cream, which was a welcome treat on a warm October day.


Students also enjoyed listening to music as they took  turns playing some carnival games. The bean bag toss presented a challenge as students attempted to toss bags into the mouths of cardboard pigs and cows.

Several students gathered around the miniature basketball hoop, trying to one-up each other to see who could make the longest shot. There were a lot of makes, and a few misses, but fun was had by all. Thank you to all the teams who participated in the festivities and the cheerleaders for dishing up that fantastic ice cream.  Go BC!

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The enthusiasm displayed from everyone who participated in the various events made Homecoming an exciting time to be at BC!


BC Hosts 6th Annual Bioenergy Day

Liz Rozell at Bioenergy Day at BC 2018

Liz Rozell at Bioenergy Day at BC 2018

BC hosted the 6th Annual National Bioenergy Day earlier this week where local renewable energy producers Mt. Poso Cogeneration, Macpherson Energy Corporation and DTE Energy Services were recognized by Mayor Karen Goh, Assemblyman Salas’s office, Congressman McCarthy’s office, Assemblyman Fong’s office, and Supervisor Mick Gleason’s office.  Our Career and Technical Education department co-hosted this event, and works closely with our industry partners. Because of these connections, our students have a better chance of landing jobs, internships or work experience.

Russell Johnson, Common Sense Consulting

Russell Johnson, Common Sense Consulting

Mt. Poso is a great example of this since the types of jobs that are located at the plant are closely related to our Industrial and Transportation Technology pathway. Having a company like Mt. Poso and its partners at our campus gives our students the opportunity to learn about the different type of employment options they can obtain with their degree or certificates they earn at BC.

Companies were represented at Bioenergy Day that generate electricity and heat from wood and organic materials.  Ruth Santos from DTE led a presentation educating attendees on this sustainable, reliable, renewable, and carbon-friendly energy source.

Mayor Goh wrapped the morning up by proclaiming October 24, 2018 as “National Bioenergy Day” in our city. I loved getting to see so many of our amazing community members here on the BC campus!  Thank you to Russell Johnson of Common Sense Consulting for reaching out to host the event here, Norma Rojas-Mora, Tony Cordova, Carlos Medina & Jessica McGrath for your help in organizing this event, as well as Mary Jo Pasek and Leah Prendez for your hard work.  Also, thank you to Stephanie Stuart and her team for providing the lunches! See all the pictures at BC’s Smugmug! 

Tony Cordova, Liz Rozell, Karen Goh, Sonya Christian

Tony Cordova, Liz Rozell, Karen Goh, Sonya Christian

Disability Awareness Day

IMG_1274October is an active month for bringing awareness to many issues. One of those issues is disability employment. National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) begins each October 1st. As part of this movement to “educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s worker with disabilities,” BC’s own DSPS held a Disability Awareness event. On Thursday, October 25th, DSPS hosted an Exhibitor Fair in the Renegades Crossroads, held a DSPS Awards Ceremony and showed a free movie for the students and employees of Bakersfield College.

Among the exhibitors were the Special Education Department, the LBC Deaf Church, Inclusion Films, the Kern Regional Center, the Independent Living Center, and the Department of Rehabilitation. The Valley Achievement Center’s booth talked to parents about their non-profit school for children with autism. The Sorenson Video Relay Service (SVRS) was there to explain their technology that “enables the Deaf community to communicate with both Deaf and hearing families” through technology, according to their flier. We have really made great strides in aiding the disabled with technology.

Disability Awareness Day Monika and Tamara

Monika and Tamara had to visit the pups.

Of course the scene-stealer and most popular booth was Canine Companions for Independence. At least three volunteers brought their Canines-in-training to Bakersfield College to promote awareness of the impact assistance dogs has on improving the life of a person with disabilities. Volunteer puppy raisers accept a specially bred puppy to keep safe and healthy while they train for about 2 years. Once the pups are raised, they are returned to the Canine Companions and tested to see if they will make a good assistance dog. Those that qualify are then trained as assistance dogs and provided to qualified disabled people. The volunteer puppy raisers are truly amazing people that dedicate two years to the animal to benefit the life of another person. As puppy raiser Barbara Raines said, “it is truly a gift of the heart.”

IMG_4461Another highlight of the event is the awards ceremony where departments, faculty, staff and students are recognized as allies for those with disabilities. These are departments and people that go out of their way to remove barriers and obstacles for our students with disabilities. These employees and students epitomize our mission to provide a supportive learning environment and represent the Core Values of integrity, diversity and community. Thank you Academic Technology Department, Marketing and Public Relations Department, Faculty Matthew Garrett and Eleonora Hicks, staff members Maria Elizondo and Helen Calip, and students Kristen Ponce and Parker Lancaster for being allies to those with disabilities.

Marketing and Public Relations

Marketing and Public Relations


Maria Elizondo and Helen Calip

Parker Lancaster

Parker Lancaster

In the afternoon we were treated to a free movie about Temple Grandin, a child born with autism that grew up to overcome her disability to become a professor of Animal Science, prominent author and speaker. Grandin will be speaking at BC on February 12, 2019 as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. We will also have Oz Sanchez speaking on November 8, 2018. Sanchez is a Marine, Paralymic and will speak to us about “Know No Limits.”


As a large part of the Bakersfield Community it is important for us to embrace the diversity of our community and bring awareness to our differences and embrace them. I would like to thank Terri Goldstein and the DSPS staff for putting together such an important event to make our students and employees aware of the help available to those with disabilities AND the help that we can give.

BC In the Vineyards Project

In partnership with CVFF, the Central Valley Farmworker Foundation, Bakersfield College Rural Initiatives visited various Farmworker crews to promote higher education in the vineyards. It is incredible to share the programs and services available to these people in our community. The week-long outreach plan will be covered in depth during next week’s blog. Be sure to come back and read the highlights.

BC in the Vineyards (1)

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11a, check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include segments with Former BC Football Coach – Carl Bowser, Former Renegade QB (and 1988 National Champion) – Stan Greene and local businessman and former Renegade – Paul Pavletich.

Segment with Paul Pavletich

Segment with Stan Greene and Linzy Collins

Segment with Stan Greene, Linzy Collins and John Rose

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (10/14-10/20) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:


Gabriella Lugo, Cross Country (2nd RotW honor) – Ran a PR of 18:59 to finish 5th overall individually at the WSC Championships and helping the team to a 4th overall finish. Her performance also qualifies her for 1st team All–Conference and ranks her as one of the top ten in Southern California.

Nathan De Jager, Football – 5/5 on field goals (ties school record) in helping team to 22-17 win over Long Beach. Through seven games on the season he is 12/12 on FG’s and 20/21 on PAT’s.  Congrats to Nathan De Jager for being named SCFA Player of the Week.


De Jager was also named The Southern California Football Association (SCFA) National Division Special Teams/All-Purpose Player of the Week for his 5/5 field goal performance in a 22-17 win at Long Beach on Saturday (10/20). De Jager totaled 16 points in the 22-17 win at Long Beach. He was 5/5 on field goals (43yd, 34yd, 50yd, 38yd, 45yd), which ties a school record for most FG’s in a game and 1/1 on PAT’s. Through seven games on the season he is 12/12 on FG’s and 20/21 on PAT’s.

Renegade Athletics Roundup

It was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include:

Distinguished Speaker: Dashka Slater

Dashka Slater (3)

Author Dashka Slater spoke to BC students, staff and fellow community members on October 24th about her book The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives, and the lasting impact that it had on not only those involved, but the entire city of Oakland.  On Monday, November 4, 2013, in Oakland California, a 16-year-old junior at Oakland High School, Richard Thomas, set fire to Sasha Fleischman, an 18-year-old senior at a private high school, when both students were traveling on the AC Transit 57 bus. Dashka Slater investigated the story after hearing of the horrifying crime from her neighborhood email list. Her questions: What does it mean to be a gender and how should we think about a teenager who commits a bias crime?

Dashka is a journalist, novelist and children’s book author with nine books under her belt.  She explained how The 57 Bus began as an article for The New York Times Magazine and evolved into a fully-fledged book with numerous accolades.  She spoke with students about the story evolved, and how her past career in journalism helped with investigating the story fully.  Thank you Dashka for coming to Bakersfield College, and thank you to our faculty coordinator Jeannie Parent for organizing this great event! You can read the original article on the NY Times.

Connecting BC Students with Industry to Launch STEM Careers

MESA Students

BC’s MESA Students at the Conference

Talented Bakersfield College students gathered in downtown Los Angeles in a step towards becoming the diverse leaders of tomorrow’s tech and engineering workforce. MESA’s Student Leadership Conference brings together hand-picked engineering and computer science students with industry professionals to develop the next generation of STEM leaders.  Held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel Oct. 4-5, this year’s conference theme was A Bounty of Homegrown Talent.  

The Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program guides diverse students from underrepresented backgrounds into STEM careers. Unlike job fairs or speaker-only conferences, MESA students got the unique opportunity to interact one-on-one and in small groups with company executives, engineers and recruiters. Many often leave the conference with internship offers that lead to full time employment. Students participated in mock interviews, communications, team building, emotional intelligence and financial literacy workshops, and watched entrepreneur and alumni panels.

Companies recognize the importance of engaging with and supporting our students — so much so they fully fund the conference with donations.  These enlightened corporate partners understand these are not simply underserved and underrepresented students, they are an underutilized pool of talent that has been long overlooked.  Companies simply cannot afford to ignore this talent pool. This year’s partners and sponsors included: Edison International, Southern California Gas Company and Pacific Gas and Electric as top sponsors and Applied Materials, San Diego Gas and Electric, Cisco, Intuit, California Resources Corporation and Lyft. Miriam Aguirre, SVP of engineering for e-sports company Skillz was the keynote speaker.

Each year MESA serves over 25,000 students at the pre-college, community college and university levels across California. MESA bridges classroom learning with real-world applications, and employ rigorous academics, leadership preparation, a peer community and collaborative problem-solving training to produce highly-skilled college graduates who meet 21st century STEM workforce needs. The White House, the Ford Foundation, and the Silicon Valley Education Foundation have all recognized MESA for its innovative and effective academic development model.

MESA high school students have a 92% college-going rate, as compared to the statewide average of 42%. MESA’s UC acceptance rate: 70% (vs 60% for all CA students); Community college transfer rate into STEM majors: 97%; Graduates with STEM bachelor’s degrees: average of 500 per year.

Accessible Document Training

Aricia Leighton leading web training

Aricia Leighton offering web training earlier this year

While not a part of the Disabilities Awareness activities, I was proud to see June Charles, Jo Ellen Patterson and Cathy Rangel participate in a training on creating accessible documents in Word. Thank you Chris Glaser for facilitating and organizing the training and Aricia Leighton for sharing her expertise. It is so important to learn the little thing that we can do to make our documents accessible to people with disabilities that may need assistive devices to read the document. I appreciate the staff taking the initiative to learn how they can make documents accessible. That is truly disability awareness.

Health Career Fair

Health Career FairOn Wednesday, October 24, the Bakersfield College Office of Student Employment hosted the Health Careers Connection Fair at the Gym Huddle.  Students who were majoring in or considering the Health Science Pathway were provided with an opportunity to connect with various industry employers, learn about available jobs, and gain career insight. Health industry employers also had the chance to meet their future workforce.

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Vendors included Kern Medical Center, Lags Medical Center, Sierra View Medical Center, Davita Kidney Care, Maxim Healthcare Services, Delano Regional Medical Center, Brookdale Senior Living, Valley Children’s Healthcare, HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, Adventist Health, Kaweah Delta Medical Center, Sendas Northwest Urgent Care, and Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital.  Thank you to everyone who came out to make the Health Careers Connection Fair a success!

Agriculture Career Fair

On October 19th, the Agriculture Department and the Kern County Farm Bureau hosted our 2nd Annual Agriculture Career Exploration Day. Over 400 high school FFA students came to Bakersfield College to learn about different career opportunities in the agriculture industry and participate in a Career Fair.

A special thanks to the industry professionals, faculty and staff that hosted each breakout sessions.

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After the breakout sessions, students came to the Renegade Park for a great lunch provided by our BC Food Service. This event was made possible by the support of our amazing agriculture industry professionals, BC faculty and staff, the Agriculture Leadership class, BC’s Agriculture Ambassadors and the amazing Event Staff – Mary Jo and Leah.

A special thank you to our sponsors Kern County Farm Bureau, The Wonderful Company, Kern Machinery, CAPCA and Lynn Citrus Seed for helping to make this event possible.

Elena Rhodes

Elena Rhodes, Wonderful Citrus, Director of Product Management

Seen on Social Media:

Via Arte

Congratulations to the talented professor Diego Monterrubio and his students for representing BC at Via Arte 2018 and receiving an award! Professor Monterrubio said,

As you can see, it takes a lot of integrity and dedication to spend your whole weekend sitting, kneeling, sweating over the hot pavement all for the love of artwork. I have never been more proud as a professor and a human being of these people. The drawing is 12ft × 12ft and consisted of 18 hours of work and it came out magnificent. Thank you very much to the faculty and friends that came out to support me and my students.

Diego Monterrubio, Sonya Christian and students at Via Arte Oct 21 2018

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BC at BYP Street Party!

Last Friday evening, Bakersfield College was well represented at the Bakersfield Young Professionals Annual Street Party; connecting arts, culture and industry. Not only was BC a proud Sponsor but was a highlight of the night featuring it’s automotive and industrial automation departments.

Andrew Haney with BC_s electric car

Professor Andrew Haney with BC’s electric car!

Carpenters Skills Competition

Last weekend I visited the Carpenters Apprenticeship Skills Competition. It was incredible to watch BC students compete in the Olympics of Carpentry, where industry professionals will put their skills to the test in Concrete, Drywall and Scaffold events! Special thank you to Ryan Nance for the personal invitation!


Principal Partners Day at the Job Spot

A team of community member and partners paid a visit to the Job Spot on Wednesday, for KHSD’s Principal Partners Day. This collaborative, innovative space features BC’s one-stop where students can receive full enrollment support and take classes who live and work in south Bakersfield. Special thanks to our Rural Initiatives team, especially Endee Grijalva, seen in the photos below sharing about BC.

Visiting the migrant labor camp in Arvin and La Paz

As part of the grant program, a select group of faculty participants spends each year attending talks like Dr. Wald’s and taking part in workshops to learn about local issues, history, and culture and how to bring those things into their classrooms. This year’s cohort is Nicole Carraso (History), Esmerelda Chapa (Communication), Christine Cruz-Boone (Communication), Jessica Flores (English), Daniel Gomes (English), Rae Ann Kumelos (English), Carolyn Lane (Child Development), Shawn Taro Newsom (History), Isaac Sanchez (English), and Brenda Valadez (Communication).

Andrew Bond, Joshua Ottum, and Oliver Rosales direct the grant and its programming.

visitingsunsetlaborcamp.jpgOn Friday, the faculty cohort, Dr. Sarah Wald, and visiting UCSB scholar Francisco Beltran visited the Sunset Migratory Labor Camp in Arvin to learn about the Okie experience in the site’s historic buildings from community members who lived there in their youth. The site served as inspiration for Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and is featured in novel as the “Weedpatch Camp.” After that, Mia Woods, Kern Housing Authority’s site manager for the present day migrant labor housing nearby, gave the cohort and visitors a brief tour of one of the housing units rented out to field workers during the annual growing and harvest seasons.

VisitingChavezMonumentSeveral of the attendees went on afterward to visit the Cesar Chavez National Monument and Villa La Paz in Keene. The site is jointly managed by the Cesar Chavez Foundation and the National Park Service, and it features a museum of Chavez’s life and the farmworker movement, buildings and residences on site once used by the United Farm Workers movement, and Cesar and Helen Chavez’s graves. Coincidentally, Andres Chavez, Cesar and Helen’s grandson, was on site that day and took over the tour, speaking with the visitors from BC and their guests while showing them around the grounds.


I’d like to thank the grant directors and everyone involved who helped make these events happen. Our community and its history are important resources for our students, and when faculty share this with their students, it makes BC a better place.

BC Food Services

Fajita Lunch Special Oct 23 2018On Tuesday, I enjoyed the lunch special from BC Food Services, which was chicken fajitas with rice, beans, and salad. I am so proud of our food services team and I continue to be impressed by their skilled and creative work to provide a variety of great meals on campus. From staples like our famous breakfast burritos, salad variety, and sandwiches, to the daily specials, I am the luckiest and happiest college president ever to have such a talented team preparing treats and meals at BC.

There are longstanding traditions at BC Food Services like the famous BC cookies made each and every day, and the BC cookbook has the special recipes used. Students and staff are always able to purchase our crispy chicken tenders, fresh-baked personal pizzas and other regular items, but the Food Services Department also prepares a special soup and entrée for lunch every day.


i-jrwpxg5-x2The staff in our kitchen and cafeteria always greets me with a smile and I’m proud whenever the BC Food Services team is providing catering, because I know each detail will be taken care of by Penny and Pam. The precious details like beads on mirrors or the Renegade Knight lifted above the display of breakfast pastries… it’s amazing!

Exciting things are happening in Food Services starting next year with a kitchen relocation and addition of a new Renegade food trailer called Gades Grub! The unveiling will take place when the semester kicks back up in 2019 with Spring!

It’s the special things which make the Home of the Renegades a true home-away-from-home. Thank you to Stephanie Stuart, Jennifer Sanderson, Theresa Rodriguez, Penny Loos, Deanna Urias, Chad Martin, Diana Murrell, Mirian Fuentes, Rosa Castro, Clarissa Williams, Shannon Worley, Lupe Wheeler, Michael Brooks, and Maria Gastelum for the beautiful meals, warm lunches, and treats you provide to keep students, faculty, and staff satisfied throughout the day.

Latinas Unidas Ribbon Cutting

Latinas Unidas, BC’s newest student organization, commemorated its first meeting with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday afternoon. Elizabeth Sanchez of South Kern Sol reported on the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the club, which aims to provide resources, promote academic development, participation in community service and a support system for Latina students at BC.


“We want to provide a space for women to come together and support each other,” Latinas Unidas president Gabriela Gomez said. “I just want to offer students a support network where they feel wanted and included.”

Gomez said she was inspired to start Latinas Unidas when she noticed that many of her classmates were first-generation students who didn’t know how to navigate the college experience. The club offers study sessions and moral support for Latina students, and future plans include a Thanksgiving potluck on November 15 and an event titled “Latte Latinas” during finals week on December 3-7.

Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government

David Krane, Norma Rojas Mora, and Mike G

David Crane, Norma Rojas Mora, and Mike Giacomini

It was a great to be at the “Evening for Kern County” hosted by Kern Citizens on Thursday evening at the Kern County Fairgrounds. Keynote speaker businessman, educator, and policy expert David Crane is a lecturer in Public Policy at Stanford University and president of Govern for California. Crane served as a special adviser to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and from 1979-2003 he was a partner at Babcock & Brown. He also serves as a director of Building America’s Future and formerly served on the University of California Board of Regents and as a director of the California State Teachers Retirement System, Society of Actuaries Blue Ribbon Panel on the Causes of Public Pension Underfunding, and Volcker-Ravitch Task Force on the State Budget Crisis.

Kern Citizens Group Photo

I was very pleased to see the organization honoring Senator Jean Fuller with the Impact Award. The Bakersfield Californian shared the news in their report “WORTH NOTING: Sen. Jean Fuller receives local Impact Award.” The article mentions, “The Impact Award is given out to people who have demonstrated that they are committed to affordable, efficient government, education and economic development in Kern County and have had success in furthering those efforts.”


McFarland HS welding students and Trustee Romeo Agbalog on the right

The icing and cherry on top for the event was seeing a group of youth from McFarland HS welding program in attendance who designed and produced the award presented to Senator Fuller. It’s always a great day to support community leadership including KCCD Trustee Romeo Agbalog who also serves at the Executive Director of Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government.

Scholarships at BC

Halloween Hands for ScholarshipThe BC scholarship application opened on October 1st and there have been a strong stream of applications coming in bakersfieldcollege.edu/Apply4Money. On Wednesday, October 31st the Scholarship Team will be connecting with students at the Renegade Crossroads from 11:00am-1:00pm and handing out treats and tricks for success. November is National Scholarship Month and on Thursday, November 1st the team will host a National Scholarship Month KICK-OFF Celebration in CSS-151 from 2:00-4:00pm. Students are encouraged to come by for games, prizes, refreshments and most of all help with scholarship related questions. Computers will be available to start the application process. Don’t let it haunt you, apply for scholarships today!

Fun Photos

Last week, I had to chance to meet President of Fresno Pacific Univeristy, Dr. Joseph Jones. You can read about Dr. Jones in the Fresno Bee article “From Pakistan to the Valley

Sonya Christian and FPU President Joseph Jones

Jordaun Bennett, assistant to the President’s Office celebrated her 26th Birthday this week! Happy Birthday Jordaun!

Jordaun Bennetts 26th Birthday

I was also interviewed on Thursday by BC Student, Francis Benavente for his podcast. I suspect it will come out in the coming weeks so stay tuned to find out what makes me the happiest and luckiest college president ever!

Sonya Christian, Francis Benavente

Math Professor, Patrick Serpa was interviewed earlier this week on Lotto fever! Check out the video snippet here!


Professor Serpa being interviewed on lotto statistics and probability!

Deans Andrea Thorson and Steve Waller provided AB705 training for counselors and advisors on Monday morning.

Steve Waller and Andrea Thorson leading AB705 Training

Deans Thorson and Waller leading a workshop on AB705

Mary Jo Pasek is ready for Homecoming!!! Are you?

MJ ready for Homecoming

Did you catch the Industrial Automation program on the news?  Swing by and see them at the Homecoming Game!

Supplemental Instruction Program Manager, Eileen Pierce made me the most beautiful custom shirt. Can you read it?!

We are BC

Sonya Christian Eugene Oct 27 2018


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

BC Renegades March for Humankindness

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, October 20, 2018…..A great day to be a Renegade.

Last weekend I had family visiting and we all went to A Star is Born……a terrific movie.  It is indeed “old-fashioned, big-feeling drama” as Manohla Dargis of the New York Times wrote.  The original movie was released in 1937, remade in 1954 with Judy Garland, and again in 1976 with Barbara Streisand – each great in their own way. In this most recent release Lady Gaga gives an incredible performance both musically and in her intimate and powerful acting. It was a treat to see her “unmasked” without all her layers of stage production attire.  Bradley Cooper does a great job directing, and in his portrayal of the superstar in decline that for me had a Willie Nelson-esque quality with the hat but not the braids.  Perhaps what I enjoyed the most in the movie are the songs.  Here’s a taste of one of them:

Come out to see BC at Via Arte at the Marketplace!

via arte from bmoa websiteBakersfield College and the Levan Center have partnered up to sponsor a 12’ x 12’ square at the Marketplace’s Via Arte, which is happening this weekend. BC Art Professor Diego Gutierrez Monterrubio and some of his talented students will be doing a chalk rendering of Caravaggio’s painting of Medusa. Please come out and support them—they will be working for essentially two solid days on this piece!! If you do stop by, take a selfie with the piece and share it with me! I can’t wait to see.

HVAC Tech Program Unveiled in Delano

Group photo with Rudy Salas, Romeo Agbalog, Abel Guzman, Sonya Christian

HVAC Groundbreaking (11)Earlier this week we unveiled the first HVAC certificate program at the Bakersfield College Delano campus.  This program is the only one of its kind within the Kern Community College District! As a part of our Rural Initiatives, it is offered solely at the Delano campus. We also broke ground on a new HVAC lab space which will be completed in late 2019, and we are in the process of developing an Associates of Science in HVAC Technology!

HVAC Groundbreaking (13)The funding came from the monies secured by Assemblyman Rudy Salas in the 2018-2019 state budget summer sessions.  I cannot begin to thank Assemblyman Salas enough for his support and commitment to Kern’s rural areas. Over the past four years, our enrollment in the rural communities has grown 87% and we wouldn’t be able to offer students the best education possible without the support of our elected officials and community members.

HVAC Groundbreaking (5)

Trustee Romeo Agbalog

I’d also like to thank Trustee Agbalog, a voice on the Kern Community College District board for the North Kern area.  Trustee Agbalog’s dedication to the region’s education and economy is unparalleled. He has helped to spread the word of the importance of higher education in our community.  Thank you Trustee Agbalog!



HVAC Groundbreaking (4)


Celebrating Diversity and Humankindness

March for Humankindness Photo by Alex Horvath TBC

Photo by The Bakersfield Californian, Alex Horvath

Renegades are on the front lines of marching for humankindness as seen in the cover photo on this Bakersfield Californian Article, “March aims to celebrate diversity, spread kindness” by Joseph Luiz. Photographer Alex Horvath captured Mayor Karen Goh with Assembly Member Vince Fong and Robin Mangarin Scott leading the way followed by the charge of BC Renegades. The walk, held on Thursday afternoon at CSUB, celebrated diversity and what unites our community as kind and caring. Robin Mangarin emceed the short program which included speakers Raji Brar, Dr. Matab Singh, and two young girls who started a local organization called Kind Girls Make Strong Women.

Raji Brar, in her remarks, spoke about moving to Bakersfield as a young girl and living in a diverse neighborhood where her neighbors, although different, were family just the same. She spoke about turning to our neighbors and the people standing beside us, realizing that we’re all different but we’re all special and together we can create a kinder world.


It is great to see how well represented our community was at the first annual walk. Organizations in attendance included the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Jay Tamsi, the African American Network of Kern County and Dee Slade, Bakersfield City Fire Department, Bakersfield East Rotary Club, Bakersfield High Interact, Bakersfield High School, Bakersfield Marathon, Bakersfield Memorial Hospital Foundation and Community Boards, Bakersfield Californian, Bakersfield Sikh Women, Boys and Girls Club, California Resources Corporation, Costco, Centennial High School, Chevron, CSUB, Ford Dreambuilders, Gamers at CSUB, Garden Pathways, Good Samaritan, Junior League, KERO, KGET, KBAK, KUZZ, Kind Girls, Leaders in Life, Mercy Hospital Foundation and Governing Boards, Mira Monte High School, NAPD, Panda Express, Real Property Management,Ronald McDonald House, and West High Ridgeview, Valley Children, and of course Bakersfield College!

Dignity Health’s Human Kindness Award

Nusring Faculty, Leah Elliott was nationally recognized as the recipient of the Steward Award at the HumanKindness Gala, hosted by Dignity Health Foundation in San Francisco. This award showcases and celebrates the power of humanity, hope, and healing – a perfect fit for a Nursing Professor!  Congratulations from all of us at BC!

Great Shakeout

f18shakeout03-x5Bakersfield College participated in The Great ShakeOut 2018 on October 18 at 10:18AM. The Incident Command Center immediately formed and began duties to clear campus. With the leadership and diligence of our campus community, all buildings were cleared and reported safe by 10:39AM. This year, our Incident Commander gave the all-clear signal 6 minutes faster than the year prior. Bakersfield College takes the ShakeOut and all emergency drills seriously to train our response skills and ensure students, staff, and faculty are as safe as possible.


BC’s Child Development Center also ensured the little ones were safe out on the grass area in clusters.

Here are photos from the Incident Command Center:

49th Annual High School Shakespeare Festival at BC

BC Volunteers

BC in support!

The Bakersfield College Theatre Program hosted the 49th annual Peg Pauly High School Shakespeare Festival last weekend, welcoming over three hundred students from thirteen local high schools.

On Friday, each high school presented a ten-minute scene which was adjudicated by Bakersfield College theatre professors. On Saturday, students presented monologues and short scenes, competing for top prizes and receiving feedback from a cadre of experienced judges, including professors from BC and CSUB and a number of local theatre veterans.

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Nearly twenty Bakersfield College Theatre majors worked as volunteers for the event, which operated in conjunction with the 34th annual Kern Shakespeare Festival’s closing weekend, where the winning high school groups performed prior to the two Festival productions.

Renegade Report

If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11am, check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. We highlighted our Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and their efforts to reach out and give back to our local community. Be sure to head to Bakersfield.com at 11am each week to watch the show live.

Segment 1 with Brooks Douglas of NOR Sports

Segment 2 with Renegades Marcus Jones and Shahadah Camp

Segment 3 with Renegades Anieus Medrano and Kobe Garner

Renegades of the Week

Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week!

Renegades of the Week

Brooke McDonald and Adrian Godinez

Brooke McDonald, W. Soccer – recorded two shutouts in goal to help women’s soccer to a 1-0-1 record on the week, in a 4-0 win at home against Victory Valley and a tie on the road against #4 Citrus.

Adrian Godinez, Wrestling –  Went 3-0 at the CCCAA State Dual Southern Regional on Saturday 10/13 helping the Renegades to a 5th place overall finish.

Article on Renegade Kicker

The Bakersfield Californian featured an article by Jose Gaspar titled “Lamont teen has the leg, and the will to succeed” on Renegade kicker Tony Garcia who hails from Lamont. His story embodies the Renegade way and we are proud to have him represent BC on the field.

Men’s/Women’s Basketball Schedule

Our Men’s and Women’s Basketball Schedules are now available on GoGades.com. Make plans to come support Renegade Basketball teams this season as they each compete to bring home conference championships this year.

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Homecoming Football Game

We hope you are making plans to join us for the Homecoming football game on Saturday, Oct. 27th at 6pm in Memorial Stadium. Fans are more than welcome to arrive early and tailgate, enjoy the game and then stay for a special fireworks show post-game sponsored by Kern Schools Federal Credit Union. Don’t miss out on the action!


Roundup of Athletics Events this week

It was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include:

Stay connected with athletics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube

Ag Career Expo

Ag Career Expo

Ag Career Expo

The Gym Huddle played host to the Agriculture Career Expo on Friday, October 19, where dozens of students gathered to explore career opportunities with various industry employers and higher education representatives.  Enthusiasm was in the air as students engaged in thought-provoking dialogue with agricultural experts, trying to learn as much as possible.

Expo visitors were in awe of the farm equipment on display.  Some climbed inside to view the inner workings of these enormous machines.  Vendors included major companies as Caterpillar, New Holland, and Berchtold, as well as universities such as Cal State-Bakersfield, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, and Fresno State. A heartfelt thanks goes out to BC Career and Technical Education and all the vendors who came out for this event.  Thank you for showing our Renegade students what a modern agricultural career can look like.  The Central Valley is a worldwide leader for the farming industry, and there’s no better place to start a career in agriculture than BC!

Ag Career Expo

MESA University Trip: Staying on the Path

MESA University trip (3)The MESA program took a university trip with students interested in attending Cal Poly SLO. The students were able to tour the campus as well as the special tour for the college engineering.  It was an especially great experience for our students because they got to meet with BC alumni Ryan Luke who showed them his current electrical engineering project at PolySat.

PolySat is a student-run, multidisciplinary, independent research lab that does CubeSat development. A CubeSat is a minimum a 10cm x 10cm x 10cm (also called a 1U) satellite which can be manufactured and deployed in space for a relatively low cost. This allows students and other research institutions to perform experiments and participate in space exploration. Most of the launches are through the NASA ELaNa program, and PolySat has worked with various teams such as NASA Goddard, NASA JPL, SRI, and Scientific Solutions.

MESA University trip (1)

MESA University trip (2)

Alejandra Zapata  (Engineering), Gemma Trujillo (Mathematics) Issac Garcia (Engineering), Ryan Luke (BC Alumni Electrical Engineering), Katie Ramirez and Alejandra Tristan (Biology)

Ryan Luke (BC Alumni) mentioned how grateful he was for professor Darke’s assistance.  Richard Darke helped him develop an independent research project during his time at BC.  This project contributed to Ryan success making him now one of the lead Electrical engineering students at the lab.

Also, the BC MESA students met with a community college transfer-student panel hosted by the Multicultural Engineering Program (MEP).  At the panel there were BC MESA student alumni Rey Fernandez and Zeph Nord who answered questions about transfer process in the STEM fields to Cal Poly and shared their personal journeys and experiences coming from BC to Cal Poly SLO. They talked about how BC was a great place to seek opportunities and experiences for STEM students through the MESA program and the STEM program.

Thank you Connie Gonzales for your passion and commitment to MESA and STEM.


Collector ArtThe directors of the Wiley and May Louise Jones Gallery are proud to present COLLECTOR. A body of work from Los Angeles based artist Matthew Craven. His work utilizes found imagery collage, sourced from texts rich with historic iconography, which he arranges into compelling contemporary images. Craven’s process driven work employs a unique balance of combined patterns, textures, and figures. The fusion of new and old allows the viewer to interpret the struggles of past cultures and can serve as a reminder of contemporary aberrations. While other pictures offer quiet, meditative retreat through repetition and precise use of color. This combination of inquiry, creates a challenging, yet rewarding experience.

The Wylie and May Louise Jones Gallery is located in the Grace Van Dyke Bird Library on the Panorama campus. The exhibition will be on view until November 29th, 2018 with an opening reception on Thursday, October 25th, from 4 – 7 P.M. Fall 2018 hours of operation are: Monday-Thursday: 1:00-4 P.M.

Spotlight on Kris Tiner

Kris Tiner performs with Wadada Leo Smith (photo by Aaron Griffith)

Kris Tiner performs with Wadada Leo Smith. Photo by Aaron Griffith

BC’s Jazz Studies professor Kris Tiner recently performed in Los Angeles with renowned composer Wadada Leo Smith in the world premiere of his Rosa Parks Oratorio. The music is an extended, multicultural meditation on Parks’ legacy performed by three vocalists, trumpet quartet, string quartet, pipa, percussion, electronics, and a Japanese Butoh dancer. This event took place on the closing night of the Angel City Jazz Festival in the REDCAT Theater at Walt Disney Concert Hall. It was reviewed in the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Classical Voice.

Race, Citizenship, and the American Farm Worker

On Thursday, BC’s Social Justice Institute hosted University of Oregon professor Sarah Wald in the Levan Center for a discussion of the ways that literature written by and about farm workers seeks to reclaim the humanity of agricultural laborers while challenging traditional American virtues of property ownership.

Attendee at Dr. Wald's Presentation

Attendees at Dr. Wald’s Presentation

Valley Public Radio covered this event and the website includes an audio clip with Dr. Wald. English professor Andrew Bond had been organizing this event, titled “Race, Citizenship and the American Farmworker” in one form or another for the past two years during the writing of the Energizing Humanities in California’s San Joaquin Valley grant. Dr. Wald was one of the first people to write a letter of interest to the National Endowment of the Humanities as part of the grant, which provided funding for research and programming that celebrates the historical and cultural contributions of the Central Valley.

Dr. Sarah Wald

Dr. Sarah Wald

Dr. Wald, an Associate Director of Environmental Studies and Director of English Graduate Admissions at the University of Oregon, began her discussion with an examination of the ways farming is depicted in popular culture, contrasted with depictions of actual farm labor. In advertisements by Dodge and Chipotle that Wald showed during her discussion, the family farmer is portrayed as a paragon of individualist American values and a model citizen. Actual farm labor, however, is commonly depicted as being beneath the average American citizen, and throughout our nation’s history, people in the fields are denied citizenship, from African-American slaves forced to toil on Southern plantations, to the undocumented migrant laborers working on farms throughout California today.

Even in ecological social movements, Wald argues, the struggles of farm laborers, who face poor housing conditions and lack of medical care, are subsumed in their utopian pursuit of hyperlocal, community-based farming. “For many people in the alternative food movement, it’s easier to imagine a world where farm workers don’t exist than one in which they are treated fairly,” Wald said.

f18racecitizenship09-x3To counter these entrenched stereotypes about farm work, Wald talked about the novel “Under the Feet of Jesus” by Helena Maria Viramontes, which is about a young girl named Estrella and her Latino family who works in the dangerous conditions of California fields. Throughout the book, Estrella develops a feeling of interconnectedness with the soil she works in every day, which gives her a sense of belonging that transcends national identity. Wald refers to this interconnectedness with the land as “denizenship”, which challenges traditional notions of citizenship that are rooted in cultural stereotypes about who gets to be considered American.

I’d like to thank Dr. Wald for coming to Bakersfield College for this fascinating discussion, and I’d like to thank the Social Justice Institute for continuing to bring engaging speakers to campus. See all the photos at BC’s Smugmug.

Mayor’s HIRE Luncheon

HIRE Luncheon BC AttendeesBC was well represented at the 13th annual Mayor’s HIRE Committee Luncheon, a celebration of outstanding Bakersfield Employer and Employee Champions and National Disability Employment Awareness Month on October 16, 2018 at Hodel’s Restaurant.

Ramon Puga, BC’s Manager of Maintenance and Operations, was honored as Employer of the Year for large businesses.  Daniel Gutierrez, BC custodian, was also honored as an Employee of the Year Nominee.

HIRE Employer of the Year award, Ramon Puga

BC’s Ramon Puga accepting the award

HIRE Committee members, Denise Crawford, Program Manager and Rudy Gutierrez, Job Development Specialist of the BC Workability, helped organize the largest turnout in the event’s history.   Also in attendance from BC: Dr. Terri Goldstein, BC’s DSPS Director, Paul Beckworth, BC’s Director, Veterans Services; Jessica McGrath and Carlos Medina, CTE Job Development Specialists.

BC’s DSPS Hosts Dept. of Rehab (DOR)

DSPS hosts DOR (1)Disabled Students Programs & Services (DSPS) hosted staff from the Bakersfield Office of the CA Department of Rehabilitation (DOR). The half-day event featured presentations by Dr. Terri Goldstein about services available through the DSPS program & What’s New at Bakersfield College. Christine Morales and Rachel Allen spoke about KCCD/BC Business Services processes that help ensure that things go smoothly when DOR is paying for students’ classes at BC. Similarly, Angela Medina, Manager of the Barnes & Noble College Bookstore at BC, discussed improvements to bookstore services for DOR clients. The program wrapped up with presentations by two Students of our Concern Master Student Interns, Natalia Hatley and Anabe Jimenez, covering the many programs and services available through the Office of Student Life to support the varied needs of our eclectic student population.

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After a brief tour of the new DSPS program space, guests were treated to a campus tour in one of our new electric limo carts. Rudy Gutierrez from DSPS’ WorkAbility III drove the cart, while a Student Tour Guide provided by Outreach & School Relations narrated the trip. Including breakfast burritos provided by BC Food Services, and sponsored by Student Equity and Success, the day was a fantastic representation of support and collaboration among departments at BC for the benefit of our community partners, and ultimately the success of our students/clients!

College Leadership

A group of college leaders including Dean of Instruction Andrea Thorson, Michelle Pena, Grace Commiso, Victor Diaz and Kalina Hill discussed the Spring 2019 implementation for AB 705.

College leadership also gathered on Monday to look at data and explore the ways to improve students success!

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Fun Photos this week!

Was happy to attend an event at the Gill family residence in Delano.  David Valadao and trustee Romeo Agbalog were there.  Here is a photo compilation.

David Valadao event at the Gill Family residence in Delano Oct 2018

Volkswagen provided free training for BC’s Auto Tech students and faculty this week!

BC's Auto Tech and Volkswagen

Happy Birthday to Steve Watkin, BC’s Director of Outreach Relations!

Steve Watkins Birthday

Veronica Hathaway and Janet Thomas shared a photo of Dean Waller with his gifts on Bosses Day.

Dean Waller - Bosses Day 2018

Chris Blakemore helping Tamara Baker cart shovels to her car for the HVAC Program Unveiling on Monday in the Delano campus.

Chris Blakemore with shovels

Fun Photos from College Council

Superheroes on Campus: Dean Billie Jo Rice

The Communication and FACE Departments celebrated Dean Billie Jo Rice this week. Professor Neeley Hatridge wrote,

In the Communication Department we have had several exceptional deans over the years, but what we didn’t know was that someone else would come along that would set the bar far higher for anyone who follows her.  Dean Rice stepped in and stepped up when assigned as Dean over FACE & Communication. Billie has approached her position with focus and humility—a desire to get things done well, and a willing spirit to explore creative thinking and new approaches.

4-2018When people describe Billie Jo and the work she does here, words like composed, efficient, approachable and resourceful are used.  Much like a superhero, she is cool-headed under pressure, so when Boss’s Day neared and it coincided with “Super Hero Day” on campus, Renee McMillon, Billie’s Executive Secretary, conspired to put together a celebration that demonstrated our gratitude for Billie and her leadership.  Faculty and staff paraded around the room wearing superhero capes and masks with Billie’s face to get into the spirit. Chef Alex, Chef Suzanne, and several others helped to prepare a baked potato bar and contributed dinner for a date night for Billie and her husband, Bud, which was presented at the celebration. Christian Flores-Castaneda created a beautiful invitation that was also presented which Dean Rice LOVED! In the end, we all took a moment to show our “superhero” our appreciation and we delighted in seeing her joyful reaction.

Bosses Day for Billie Jo

Community Voices from BC’s Professor Bell

5bbc1be450d34-imageBC’s English faculty, Justin Bell wrote a published Community Voices piece titled “Treat women the way you want to be treated” in which he says,

“The propensity of people in our society who would dismiss the way that some men treat and talk about women as “locker room talk” or “just boys being boys” is, frankly, sickening. We can argue about how our culture contributes to this subjugation of women from the moment they are born, but that is only part of the issue, and a paradigm shift may take generations.”

SoCal ICWA Fall Directors Meeting

f18iwca01-x4On Friday, BC was honored to host the Southern California chapter of the International Writing Center Association (SoCal IWCA) in the Fireside Room for its fall directors meeting.

BC’s Writing Center organized the conference, which was designed for SoCal IWCA directors to plan their Spring 2019 conference, titled “Vis/Ability”, which will focus on discussions about improving writing center services for marginalized and disabled students. There were also roundtable discussions about how writing center tutors can implement AB 705 and EO 1110.


f18iwca03-x3Writing Center Lead Kim Arbolante gave a brief introduction to Bakersfield College at the beginning of the event, including how BC’s writing center operates and how Measure J is transforming our campus community. Vice President of Student Affairs Zav Dadabhoy also spoke to the SoCal ICWA directors, praising Arbolante’s service to our Writing Center students. I’d like to thank the BC Writing Center for graciously hosting the SoCal ICWA directors on our campus.

We are BC!

Sonya Christian Oct 15 2018


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever

Proud to Announce “The Bakersfield College Vernon Valenzuela Veteran Resource Center”

Good morning Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, October 13, 2018…..a great day to be a Renegade.

Let me start my weekend blog with the the Board of Trustees meeting where the board voted unanimously to name the first project of Measure J the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center.

Naming the Veterans Resource Center

Group Photo of BC Representatives at the KCCD Board Meeting

Group Photo of BC Representatives at the KCCD Board Meeting

Thursday, October 11th was a historic day for Bakersfield College! The Kern Community College District unanimously voted to approve the naming of the new VRC to The Bakersfield College Vernon Valenzuela Veteran Resource Center. We are proud the KCCD Board of Trustees voted to name the center after a local veteran advocate, inspirational leader, and Renegade.

1973 From Left Ed Simonsen Chancellor, Vernon Valenzuela Faculty, John Collins President, Phyllis Mallory Faculty, Loren Voth Trustee, Cecil Bailey Trustee

1973 – From Left: Ed Simonsen (Chancellor), Vernon Valenzuela (Faculty), John Collins (President), Phyllis Mallory (Faculty), Loren Voth (Trustee), Cecil Baileyaa

Vernon Valenzuela left a lasting legacy, for the Home of the Renegades, but also for his extended community, and in the hearts of all who knew him. His life’s work to benefit veterans lives on through the veterans he worked with, and the Renegades whose lives he helped transform.

Digital Rendering of the Veterans Resource Center

Special thank you to Paul Beckworth and Olivia Garcia who prepared the Board proposal, and to our guest speakers who shared with the Board their personal stories:

  • Jenny Frank, Manager of the Bakersfield Veterans Center
  • Tom Corson, Executive Director of the Kern County Network for Children
  • Randy Dickow, Attorney from the Veteran Justice Program


Paul Beckworth made the recommendation on my behalf, and Chancellor Burke supported the recommendation.

Paul Beckworth, Randy Dickow, Tom Corson, Jenny Frank, Olivia Garcia, Zav Dadabhoy VRC.jpg

Paul Beckworth, Randy Dickow, Tom Corson, Jenny Frank, Olivia Garcia, Zav Dadabhoy


Kay Meek, President of the KCCD Board of Trustees, made the motion, Bill Thomas seconded the motion.

The Board voted unanimously to name the new VRC the Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center.

Kay Meek then gave the rendering of the new Vernon Valenzuela Veterans Resource Center to Vernon’s widow Lise Valenzuela.  As you can see both the audience and the trustees were elated and gave a standing ovation.

Our community’s support for Bakersfield College has given us a unique opportunity to give back to our veterans by establishing a supportive and welcoming environment for all student veterans. We also must remember that this dedication would not even be possible without the sacrifices of those who have served our nation through military service.

Moments like these are a reminder of our responsibility to ensure steadfast commitment for our veterans. They are a reminder of our personal and collective responsibility to build a future that positively impacts veterans, and supports their education and their dreams.

Thank you to the Board of Trustees for the decision to name the new VRC after Vernon Valenzuela.

Standing ovation after the vote Oct 11 2018.jpg


Trustees doing a standing ovation.jpg

We will honor Vernon and all other veterans next month when we hold the official groundbreaking ceremony on November 5.  Mark your calendars!


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Grand Opening of Student Employment Lab

Student Employment Lab Grand OpeningMonday began with the grand opening and ribbon cutting of our new Student Employment Lab on the Panorama Campus. BC’s Strong Workforce is supporting our students to meet the demand to fill highly sought after skilled jobs with livable wages throughout California. The Student Employment Lab, located in the FACE building, provides career related support including access to resume development, employment resources like Jobspeaker, and preparation for successful interviews. In addition, resources are available from donations that students can utilize, such as paper, pencils, hygiene products, and more.


Jobs prioritize being a student first, and provide important industry and career connections to help students explore what they really want for their futures. The Bakersfield College Student Employment Team is proud to help bridge the gap between education and employment by sharing our model, tools, and resources with other community colleges throughout California.

Thank you to the Student Employment team, led by Stephanie Baltazar and all who attended Monday’s grand opening including Cindy Collier for this new space.

Student Employment Lab Grand Opening

Student Employment in Action

Arisve_Pimental,_Selena_Gasca,_and_Danyel_RitterSpeaking of student employment, each month the Student Employment Office selects an on-campus supervisor to recognize their outstanding service. The Supervisor then has the honor to highlight one of their top student employees. This month, Arisve Pimentel and Danyel Ritter, Department Assistants for the Office of Student Life are being recognized because they oversee many services and programs, including the Renegade Pantry, Pantry Shelf Program, Daily Bread, Homecoming festivities, and the Renegades mobile app! They teach their student employees organizational and time management skills, make them feel valued, and always keep them on track. Both ladies selected student assistant Selena Gasca for always coming to work prepared, with a positive attitude, and a friendly demeanor.

Visit with Justices of the Fifth District Court of Appeal


Justices of the Fifth District speak to students

This past Thursday, BC was visited by the Justices of the Fifth District Court of Appeal.  The Justices spoke very candidly to our pre-law students, staff and faculty about their professional career paths, and explained how they came to be justices at the Court of Appeal.  They talked about how life isn’t a sprint but a marathon, and how this is extremely applicable to a life in law.

Many explained how they never thought about being a judge, but wouldn’t change a thing.  Their perspective shed light on the ethics and importance of law in supporting democracy, and explained the how Justices are appointed to the Court. They talked about how the work is demanding, and a balance of work and life is essential.


Thank you to Justices Brad R. Hill, Herbert I. Levy, Charles S. Poochigan, M. Bruce Smith, Kathleen A. Meehan, Mark W. Snauffer and Thomas DeSantos for visiting Bakersfield College and for showing our students the many different paths there are in the legal profession. And thank you to Corny Rodriguez and all the students who attended this incredible opportunity. See all the photos at BC’s Smugmug.

Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)

Tom Burke and Corny Rodriguez

Chancellor Burke and Corny Rodriguez

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) held its annual conference last weekend in the Marriot Marquis in Atlanta, Georgia to discuss the emerging trends in higher education affecting Hispanic-Serving Institutions. BC’s Corny Rodriguez attended alongside KCCD Chancellor, Tom Burke.

The HACU was established in 1986 to represent the needs of all higher education institutions with a 25 percent or higher Hispanic population, which are defined by federal law as Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). HSIs, which include Bakersfield College, face unique challenges compared to other degree-granting institutions, including a disproportionately low-income student population. In 1992, the HACU petitioned Congress for recognition and federal appropriations to HSIs, which led to increased funding to HSIs through Title V of the Higher Education Act.

Student Profile (Ethnicity) from Scorecard

Student Demographic 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
Hispanic Student Count (%) 61.5% 65.1% 66.3% 66.7% 65.7%
Student Count   14,997 16,486 18,312 20,863 21,847
Group Photo at HACU

Ana Ceballos, PC Counselor Teacher Education; Prima Arvizu, VP of Student Affairs; Kimanthi Warren, PC Director Equity and Educational Services, Chancellor Tom Burke; Laura Vasquez CCCC Faculty, Lucilia Gonzalez-Cirre CCCC Faculty; and Corney Rodriguez. BC Dean

Here are two fun photos of our Chancellor at HACU 2018. Chancellor Burke getting up to date information from Georgia Tech professor at the STEM/HACU student workshop and riding on a ” Bird”, electric scooter.

Renegades of the Week

BAKERSFIELD, CA – Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (9/30-10/6) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week.


Rhyan Acosta, Women’s Soccer – scored the winning goal in a road victory, 2-0, over #12 rankead LA Valley, and then scored the first two goals in a 4-0 home win over #11 ranked Cuesta.

Armando Alvarez, Men’s Soccer – had a shutout against Santa Barbara, the no. 6th ranked team in California (16th in the nation). He had 3 key saves in the last 2 minutes of the game to preserve a 0-0 tie and finished with a combined total of 7 saves for the game.

Roundup of Athletics Events this week

It was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include:

Renegade Athletics Social Media

Public Safety Career Expo

On Wednesday, October 10, the Bakersfield College CTE Department brought together more than 60 local, state, and federal agencies together for the Public Safety Career Expo. Representatives were on hand to answer questions and provide information to those who were interested in pursuing a career in public safety.  Hundreds of students were seen having engaging conversations with members of the police, fire department, and military in the hopes of one day making public safety their profession.

Numerous vehicles were on display, such as an ambulance, fire engine, SWAT team vehicle, and even a Kern County Sheriff’s helicopter! Visitors were able to climb in and tour many of the vehicles, getting an up-close view of how these technologically-advanced machines operate.

Thank you to everyone who took part in making this amazing event happen, and a special thank you to all of the men and women who make such great sacrifices to keep our country safe.  BC extends our deepest gratitude to you and your families.

See all the photos at BC’s Smugmug!

Young Women Empowered for Leadership Conference

YWEL Event (2)

Dr. Paula Parks (front, left) with some of the attendees

Dr. Paula Parks, English Professor and Umoja Community Lead, was a panelist at the second annual Young Women Empowered for Leadership conference sponsored by the Kern High School District. The focus of the luncheon event organized by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Brenda Lewis was on women in education.

Other distinguished panelists included Highland High School math teacher and BC adjunct instructor Kalisha Hudgins, Foothill High School Counselor Denise James, CSUB Associate Vice President Dr. Jacqueline Mimms, CSUB Assistant Athletic Director Dena Freeman-Patton, and retired educator and Project BEST founder Fushia Ward.

Young Womens Event

Panelists spoke on what inspired them to pursue a career in education, their experiences being the only African American in their graduate classes and in their places of employment, and overcoming challenges. They all encouraged the girls to maintain a sisterhood and never give up on their dreams no matter what the struggles are.

YWEL Event (4)

The high schoolers were engaged and attentive. They asked questions such as the professionalism of wearing one’s hair in natural styles and about getting people to stop using the n-word. Most of the panelists had always worked in education, and the students found it interesting that Dr. Parks moved from a career in journalism to one she found more fulfilling in directly making a difference in the lives of students. They expressed interest in the Umoja Community program and asked Dr. Parks aoout the cultural program in the high schools. Parks encouraged the girls to attend BC and become part of the Umoja program and then transfer to a four-year university.

Sonia Nazario


Sonia Nazario and Joaquin Alvarado

Bakersfield College was honored to host two respected journalists in the country on our campus to lead a conversation about immigration and reporting as part of a state-wide initiative to keep young people informed about democracy and the functions of government.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sonia Nazario and Joaquin Alvarado, founder of the new media organization StudioToBe and the former CEO of The Center for Investigative Reporting, spoke to students in the Forum about the ways that the media frames immigration issues in the wake of increased public scrutiny over ICE detention centers and the separation of families at the border.


The event was presented as part of BC Office of Student Life’s Distinguished Speaker Series, BC Social Justice Institute, and the California Humanities’ new initiative titled “CA 2020: Democracy and the Informed Citizen”, a year-long partnership with California community colleges to get young people engaged in democracy and journalism by bringing Pulitizer-winning reporters to their campuses. At the beginning of the event, California Humanities CEO Julie Fry was proud to announce that the organization had secured approximately $1 million in funding for statewide programming through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Federation of State Humanities Councils and other non-profit organizations.

South Kern Sol Executive Director Reyna Olaguez also announced the four local winners of media fellowships as part “Cal 2020” project. The four young reporters will be working with trained journalism professionals to develop stories on topics that are relevant to our community. Nazario is best known for her book “Enrique’s Journey,” in which she travelled over 12,000 miles atop freight trains from Honduras to the United States to follow the path of a 17-year-old boy who was searching for his mother. The journey was fraught with danger from police officers and immigration authorities, as well as opportunistic coyotes who take advantage of the thousands who come to America via El Tren de la Muerte—The Train of Death.

f18sonianazario15-x4Nazario’s approach to journalism is hands-on, seeking to capture an inspiring narrative thread that contextualizes some of the most polarizing and divisive issues in our society. As part of a 1997 series on the one in five children in the United States who are raised by drug-addicted parents, Nazario lived in crack houses to be able to write accurately and honestly about their experiences.

“My job is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted,” Nazario said.

After covering immigration issues for over 20 years, Nazario has seen the face of immigration shift from Mexicans seeking economic opportunities in the US to Central American families seeking asylum from the horrific violence brought about by criminal narcotics cartels. Her work reporting on asylum cases has led her to serve as a board member for Kids in Need of Defense, an organization that procures lawyers for young children seeking asylum, who often have to formulate their own cases without the education necessary to go toe-to-toe with US attorneys fighting against them in court.

While immigration has become a hot-button issue in the current presidential administration, Nazario and Alvarado, who served as the moderator for the evening’s discussion, stressed the importance of looking beyond the talking points being spouted by 24-hour cable news networks on both sides of the political divide and connecting people with stories that affect their day-to-day lives while empowering them to become more invested in their communities.

I’d like to thank all who attended including retired KCCD Chancellor, Sandra Serrano, BC faculty, Olivia Garcia, Erin Auerbach, and Heather Pennella, Jerry Ludeke, and more. Social Justice Institute, the Office of Student Life, and California Humanities for bringing this insightful and thought-provoking conversation to our campus. See all the photos at BC’s Smugmug.

Cristina Sommers


Dr. Cristina Sommers

On Thursday, October 11, 2018, the Levan Center for Humanities welcomed Dr. Christina Sommers to discuss ideas presented in her book Who Stole Feminism? How Women have Betrayed Women. At least 100 students, faculty and staff attended the afternoon session where Dr. Sommers presented her ideas and engaged in an informal discussion.

Former professor of philosophy at Clark University, Dr. Sommers is now a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. She began writing articles in the mid-80’s when asked to teach a class on Feminist Theory. It was while preparing for teaching the class and researching the textbooks on the subject that she found feminist theory to be inconsistent with philosophical theory in not providing both theory and its rebuttal in the same manner, making many assumptions without argument or support. She began to question the assumptions and the research methodologies.

dsc04606-x2Sommers’ articles appeared in The Journal of Philosophy, The New England Journal of Medicine, The New York Times and The Atlantic. She went on to write several books including Who Stole Feminism, The War Against Boys, Freedom Feminism: Its Surprising History and Why It Matters Today (Values and Capitalism), The Science on Women and Science, and she coauthored One Nation Under Therapy: How the Helping Culture is Eroding Self-Reliance with Sally Satel M.D. and Vice and Virtue in Everyday Life with Fred Sommers. She also hosts many YouTube videos on the Factual Feminist channel.

In her talk she articulated the need to look at research with an open mind and not ignore variables that might not prove the feminist view, and suggested that radical feminist views may hurt the cause more than help it by turning away those with more moderate or conservative. She said that the future for feminism lies not only in increasing inclusion of all races, but in creating inclusivity that is intellectually diverse as well, incorporating perspectives of conservatives and liberals, and to include males in the movement. She views herself as a liberal feminist in the classical sense of liberalism of enlightening and empowering the female.

dsc04594-x2One student brought up the New York Times article that described the “Intellectual Dark Web,” and had included her in their description of those participating. He asked how one would be included in such a list. Sommers explained that someone, perhaps a journalist, published a list of people the internet that were challenging the status quo from within the status quo. The New York Times took that list, dubbed it the “Intellectual Dark Web,” wrote the article and sent a talented photographer to take beautiful, but “scary,” photos of the people on the list. She laughed it off, saying that the only people using the expression “Intellectual Dark Web” were the critics of the people on that list.

I am so lucky to have faculty and staff that bring a wide array of views and culture to our school, to the benefit of students, faculty and community members.  See all the photos at BC’s Smugmug.

Strengthening Student Success

Bakersfield College rural initiative team recently presented at the Strengthening Student Success Conference. The panel of presenters notably included Destiny Ramos, a 15 year-old Arvin High School sophomore and Bakersfield College Early college student.

Accreditation - Delano Team3

BC’s Rural Initiatives Team

Early College is a partnership with local community colleges and a local public secondary school that provides students the opportunity to simultaneously earn their high school diploma as well as up to two years of transferable college credit. The panelists discussed  developmentally appropriate instructional design, and how to create a student-centered learning environment when teaching high school students collegiate content. Presenters included Maria Ramos, Arvin High School parent; Destiny Ramos, Arvin High School; Dr. Chris Cruz-Boone (Communications Faculty), Abel Guzman (Interim Director, Rural Initiatives), and Jesse Oropeza (Counselor), Bakersfield College.

UCD Pre-Health Conference

UCD Pre Health (2)

Natali and Rebecca with Dr. Joe Saldivar

Dr. Joe Saldivar, biology faculty and chair, took a van full of pre-med students to the 16th annual UC Davis Pre-health Conference this past October 6, 2018.  This was the biggest pre-health conference on the west coast with over 4,500 attendees. During the one-day conference our BC students received information about medical school, allied health career pathways,  pre-health admissions; they engaged with exhibitors and had the opportunity to speak with UC Davis campus professors. The MESA program sponsored the trip for the students, supporting our students on the STEM Guided Pathway. Rebecca Sinor, student President of the Pre-med club said, “It was a fantastic trip, thank you so much for everything.”

Texts Worth Sharing

Corny Rodriguez shared with me “I took a coffee break yesterday. Found these BC Nursing students studying at Starbucks.”  Here is Brooke Hurt, Jennifer Jhon, Deveney Miller, and Sarah Voss studying for their classes. BC Nursing Rocks!!

BC Nursing Students

Renegade Nursing Students at Starbucks

Gadfly Cafe

Reggie Williams

Reggie Williams moderating the discussion

On Wednesday, October 10, the Levan Center played host to another edition of the Gadfly Café.  This month’s topic was all about bias.  A crowded room saw students, faculty, and community members participating in a free-flowing discussion about their personal experiences with bias, with moderator Reggie Williams maintaining a fair and non-judgmental atmosphere.

Bias regarding gender, age, sexuality, disability, and socioeconomic status was the topic of the day.  Many engaging stories were shared during the one-hour session, and received in quiet thoughtfulness, though some were met with applause. Be sure to stop by the Levan Center for next month’s Gadfly Café on Wednesday, November 14 at 12:30 p.m., where the topic will be “Suicide: In Pain, Protest, and Honor.”

Project BEST at BC

On Friday, BC hosted project BEST students for a morning of learning. Bakersfield College is always happy to host Project BEST events. Project BEST provides one-time scholarships that focus on first-year college success. The program has awarded over 1,000 scholarships over the past 2 years.  Special thank you to Julian West who represents BC and education, inspiring young people to attend college.

MESA Student Leadership Conference

MESA Student Leadership Conference2

BC’s MESA Students

On Saturday, October 6, four Bakersfield College MESA students were invited to attend “The Student Leadership Conference (SLC).”  Math Faculty Dillon Giblin chaperoned the students at the event which brings together select engineering and computer science students and industry professionals in an effort to develop the next generation of diverse STEM leaders. The conference is an opportunity for STEM students to develop “soft skills” necessary to successfully transition from college to professional careers. During the conference students explored career opportunities, practiced collaboration and problem-solving skills, enhanced oral and written communication skills, and developed interviewing skills.

Industry partners provide workshops and presentations, conduct mock interviews and identify candidates for internship and full-time STEM positions. The well-attended event hosts more than 200 selected MESA undergraduate students, over 30 MESA center directors throughout the state, MESA alumni from around the country, industry and government agency representatives and various national, state, and local government representatives.

MESA Student Leadership Conference

Students are selected by their MESA directors based upon demonstrated potential to be future leaders for their college, the MESA program, and the community. Attending this year from BC were: Sabrina Lugo Computer Science, Issac Garcia Civil Engineering major, Peter Rodriguez Mechanical Engineering major, and Ian Jaurez Chemical Engineering major.

California Society of CPA’s

BC Accounting ProfessorsBC accounting professors Lynn Krausse, Rudy Menjivar, and Gayle Richardson attended the California Society of CPA’s Bakersfield Chapter ABC Mixer (Attorneys, Bankers and Certified Public Accountants) raising money for student scholarships.

It’s wonderful to see BC faculty involved in their communities for the benefit of students!

Friends, this is yet another reason that I’m the luckiest and happiest college president ever!

Seen on FB:  Kern Sol spotlight on Dr. Rosales

FB Kern SolSouth Kern Sol, a youth-led journalism organization funded by The California Endowment, profiled BC history professor Oliver Rosales and his work documenting the farm laborer rights movement in Kern County during the 1960s and ’70s.

Check it out here!

The profile describes Rosales’ passion for writing about the farm worker movement where it began in Delano, and mentions that his father taught at Bakersfield College alongside Jess Nieto, the founder of the Chicano Studies program at BC and a former dean at the Delano Campus.

Rosales engages students with their own history as reflected in the stories of the work of Cesar Chavez, the UFW and farmworker strikes, making them aware that these stories are studied by professors at Ivy League universities across the country. “I try to get [students] to understand that the outside world talks about their history,” Rosales is quoted as saying in the article. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do until I could see my own world in the curriculum.”

BC Southwest Tutoring Center

We often don’t get to see the work that makes transforming students’ lives possible. Ying Vang set up laptops for the SW Tutoring Center. The cart was delivered from Delano and BC’s Academic Support Services provided funding for the laptops. Over 314 students have been served by 14 Peer Tutors in the Southwest center and now the added technology will enhance the tutoring experience.

Ying at BCSW

Emails Worth Sharing – From the UK!

f18wimbish07-x3This week, I an awesome email from Joe Simpson at VisitBakersfield.com that made its way to my inbox. Joe explained that a few weeks ago, he received an inquiry from Mr. Harvey in the UK, who would be visiting Bakersfield and wanted to know where to find some good music during his trip. The email that Joe forwarded said,

“I have just arrived back in the UK. When we stayed in Bakersfield on Sunday and Monday, 23 and 24 September we went to Ethel’s Old Corral Cafe on the Sunday to see the Sante Fe Band and to the Bakersfield College to see Doug Wimbish. Both events were absolutely brilliant! So, I simply had to get back to you to thank you for bringing these to my attention. Thank you so much.” See my blog coverage from the Doug Wimbash event here!

Fun Photos

From the High School Counselor Conference

From Accreditation Week:

Accreditation Logistics Team

Love this picture.  Monika Scott and Nicky Damania working hard in the SGA Board Room with treats in the foreground!

Monika and Nicky computer training


BC is proud to partner with Dignity Health and CSUB in the March for Humankindness.

March for Humankindness

Join the Renegades and our community as we March for Humankindness! This short walk will celebrate our diversity and highlight what unites us as members of such a kind and caring community. Come out this Thursday, October 18th at 5:00PM at CSUB’s Icardo Center. Wear your favorite BC shirt and let’s represent our Renegade pride! Gather your friends, family, coworkers, and classmates as we walk together to create a kinder community. While you’re out, snap a selfie and send it to me! I’d love to feature it in my blog next weekend!

HVAC Program Unveiling

On Monday, 10:00 am on Bakersfield College Delano Campus we’ll unveil its first HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) Technology Certificate of Achievement Program. I will be attending, along with Assemblymember Rudy Salas and Trustee Romeo Agbalog, among others. This program is the only one of its kind within the Kern Community College District and is a part of Bakersfield College’s Rural Initiatives, which provides BC’s surrounding communities with the means to better equip residents with workforce skills through college education. The funding for this program comes from the monies secured by Assemblyman Rudy Salas in the 2018-2019 state budget.  If you can, come join us for this wonderful event!


Manny Fernandez, Sonya Christian, Romeo Agbalog, Tom Burke, Freddie, Rudy Salas, Abel Guzman


We are BC!

Sonya Christian and Paul Beckworth


That’s all for now.  

Until next time.

With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.  

sonya —
the luckiest and happiest college president ever